NEW DELHI, July 12: Defender Sushila Chanu will lead the 16-member Indian women�s hockey team at the forthcoming Olympic Games to be held at Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.
Hockey India today named Sushila as the skipper in place of Ritu Rani who was dropped from the squad by the selectors due to poor form and attitude problems.
Sushila�s colleague in the backline, Deepika will assist her as the vice-captain during the Games.
The team includes five defenders, five midfielders, five forwards and only one goalkeeper in Savita.
The women�s team includes the experience of Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Sushila, Namita Toppo and Deep Grace Ekka in the defence.
The midfield will be manned by Renuka, Lilima Minz, Monika, Navjot Kaur and young Nikki Pradhan, while forward line consists of Rani Rampal, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thockchom and Preeti Dubey.
Just like the mens�s team, the women�s squad also has two reserve players in defender Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli and goalkeeper Rajani Etimmarpu.
This will be the first time in 36 years that Indian women�s hockey team will be participating at the Olympic Games, after a stellar show at the Hockey World League Semifinals in 2015.
Indian eves� only appearance in the Olympics till now was in the 1980 Moscow edition, but there was no qualification process back then.
Speaking about the selected squad, Indian women�s hockey team�s chief coach Neil Hawgood said they have handpicked the best-available team on the basis of merit.
�We have picked the best physically and mentally prepared team,� Hawgood said during a gliterring team announcement function here today.
�It is a historic moment for the girls no matter whom we pick because they never played in the Olympics. The men�s team have tasted the Olympics with seven players of the selected squad featuring at London. So we really don�t know what�s going to come over.�
Asked about the experienced Ritu Rani�s omission from the squad, Hawgood said: �We picked up a committed 16-member squad from the trials. We have selected the best 16.�
Indian women�s team captain Sushila said it is a huge responsibility given to her and she vowed to fulfil it to the best of her potential.
Squad: Sushila Chanu (Captain and Defender), Navjot Kaur, Deep Grace Ekka, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Savita, Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Deepika (vice-captain), Namita Toppo, Renuka Yadav, Sunita Lakra, Rani, Preeti Dubey, Lilima Minz.
Standbyes: Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli, Rajani Etimmarpu (Reserve Goalkeeper). � PTI
The final is slated for July 14.