Hockey hopes pinned on women's team

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Mamta Kharb will lead the Indian team as they play the qualifiers for the Beijing Olympics in Kazan Russia.

Updated: March 17, 2008 12:39 IST
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New Delhi:

Versatile forward Mamta Kharb will lead the Indian women's hockey team in their last attempt to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and overcome to an extent the disappointment caused by the men's team failure to do so.

India will have to contend with the challenge from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Antilles, Russia and the US in the nine-day tournament beginning in Kazan, Russia, April 19, the Indian Women's Hockey Federation (IWHF) announced here Monday.

Only the winner of this tournament will qualify for the Olympic Games, beginning Aug 8.

The winner of this and two other qualifying tournaments will join the nine nations - defending champions Germany, silver medallists the Netherlands, bronze medallists Argentina, Australia, China, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa - in Beijing.

As of now, 22 Indian women hockey players have been selected following trials at the Sports Authority of India sub-centre in Lucknow March 16 and 17. But IWHF president Vidya Stokes said only 18 will make it to the final squad.

India, winner of eight Olympic gold medals in men's category, last week failed to qualify for the Olympics Games for the first time in 80 years. They lost to Britain in the final of a qualifying tournament in Santiago, Chile, to disappoint millions of fans.


Goal-keeper: Dipika Murty, Marita Tirkey and Poonam Toppo

Defenders: Binita Toppo, Suman Bala (vice-captain), Rajwinder Kaur and Pushpa Pradhan

Mid-fielders: Subhadra Pradhan, Gagandeep Kaur, Rosalind Ralte, Asunta Lakra, Th. Ranjita and Manorama Devi

Forwards: Mamta Kharb (captain), Saba Anjum, Surinder Kaur, Jasjeet Kaur, Ritu Rani, Deepika Thakur, Adline Kerketta, Rani Devi and Pritam Rani Siwach

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