Indian women’s team look to win maiden Junior Asia Cup hockey title

Kakamighara (Japan): The Indian women will look to replicate the success of their male counterparts when they begin their campaign at the Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament beginning here on Saturday.

The Indian junior men’s team defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 in Salalah, Oman on Thursday night to lift the Asia Cup title.

And the Indian junior women team would be eager to follow in the footsteps of the men’s side and win its maiden Asia Cup crown.

India will open their campaign against Uzbekistan on Saturday.

The women’s Junior Asia Cup, which will conclude on June 11, will also serve as a qualifier for the forthcoming FIH Junior Women’s World Cup later this year.

Notably, the top three teams in the women’s junior Asia Cup will earn automatic qualification for the FIH Junior Women’s World Cup to be played in Santiago, Chile from November 29 to December 10 this year.

Captained by Preeti, India have been grouped in Pool A along side four-time champions Korea, Malaysia, Uzbekistan and Chinese Taipei, while hosts Japan, China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Hong Kong China, are in Pool B.

India have won a silver and four bronze medals in the tournament’s seven editions thus far.

Speaking on the team’s preparation ahead of the tournament, captain Preeti said, “We have worked hard over the past few months for this tournament and now we are all geared up to implement everything that we have worked on during training sessions. “Moreover, the senior India team was also training with us on the same campus which helped us and also boosted our confidence.” After a single-legged round-robin stage, the top two sides from each pool will move to the semi-finals while the third and fourth-placed teams will play for the fifth to eighth-rank classification.

The teams that finish fifth in both pools will compete against one another for the ninth and 10th spots.

After Uzbekistan, India will take on Malaysia on June 5, followed by matches against Korea (June 6) and Chinese Taipei (June 8).