India’s women’s hockey chief coach Harendra Singh will demand improved fitness and agility when 34 players report for the national camp, which will begin in Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru on Friday.
“Since 2018 is extremely important with mega events in the pipeline it is necessary for the team to stay fit and injury-free but at the same time they also need to be fast and agile,” Harendra said in a Hockey India (HI) release.
“Keeping this in mind we will have a series of classes and sessions to guide players and educate them on significance of fitness and achieving our target in major competitions.”
After ending the year 2017 on a high, winning the Asia Cup in Japan, the Indian team will begin its campaign this year with South Korea Tour between March 3 to 12 where they will play five matches against the hosts at the Jinchun National Athletic Centre, Jinchun.
Later in May, the Indian team will return to South Korea to defend their Asian Champions Trophy title. “The Korea Tour is important ahead of the Commonwealth Games as we want to implement a few combinations and get some good match practice before we leave for the CWG.
“With the 5th Women’s Asian Champions Trophy being held in South Korea, it is good to get used to the playing conditions in that country and also matches against the home team ahead of a big competition is always good,” added the Chief Coach.
Going by the fitness graph of the players which has witnessed a steep climb over the past year with players scoring well in the Yo-Yo Test which measures an athlete’s ability to repeatedly perform high-intensity aerobic work, Harendra is optimistic of good results this year which also features the Hockey Women’s World Cup London in July and the Asian Games starting in August.
“Fitness is a long process and we are happy that Wayne Lombard (scientific advisor) has worked so closely where the girls have shown a good graph,” Harendra, who guided the Under-21 men to World Cup glory in 2016, said.
“After two camps that focused mainly on fitness and speed with technical skill development, now the focus will be implementing different combinations of attack and defence. I am confident the team is capable of good results this year.”
Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu, Swati
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, P. Sushila Chanu, Sunita Lakra, Gurjit Kaur, Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli, Navdeep Kaur, Rashmita Minz, Neelu Dadiya
Midfielders: Namita Toppo, Nikki Pradhan, Deepika, Karishma Yadav, Renuka Yadav, Navjot Kaur, Monika, Lilima Minz, Neha Goyal, Udita, M Lily Chanu, Nilanjali Rai, Suman Devi Thoudam
Forwards: Rani Rampal, Vandana Katariya, Preeti Dubey, Reena Khokhar, Anupa Barla, Sonika, Lalremsiami, Poonam Rani, Navneet Kaur, Navpreet Kaur.