Jul 1, 2021

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Indian women team guide, fixtures, and key players

Rani Rampal to captain the side

The decade of 2020s has been good for Indian women hockey team. From a team that used to just makeup the numbers in the tournaments, Indian team has   improved a great deal to give competition to top hockey   nations of the world. Lot of coaches have given their blood, sweat and tears to Indian team but Sjoerd Marijne’s   contribution has been remarkable. 

 Sjoerd Marijne has had two stints with Indian women’s team. The first stint was uneventful, but the second stint brought out the character of both players and coach that helped the team qualify for back-to-back Olympics for the first time in the history. With Tokyo Olympics being his last assignment with the Indian team, Sjoerd would surely want to bow out with all guns blazing.

It's quite a mixed bag when it comes to the team selected for the Olympics. On one side there are players with vast experience like Rani Rampal, Savitha Punia and Sushila Chanu and they would equally be supported by players who would be playing in their first Olympics. There are eight players who would be making their Olympics debut and young and exciting talents like Lalremsiami, Neha Goyal and drag flick expert Gurjit Kaur will play a key role in India's performance in the tournament.

Rani Rampal, the most experienced Indian player in the side was named as captain while Savita Punia and Deep Grace Ekka were named vice captains for the tournament. Coach Sjoerd Marijne happy with Indian team’s selection gave a bite to Hindustan Times where he said, ‘There’s a good mix of experienced players and new talent, which is excellent. We look forward to taking on the best in the world in Tokyo.’ 

One would surely feel bad about Rajani Etimarpu but with just sixteen players allowed for the Olympics, there was no way she could have displaced Savita from the number one spot. 

READ MORE FROM GIVE ME HOCKEY: Sjoerd Marijne will step down after Olympics after having the last laugh

The defense will be led by experienced stalwart Deep Grace Ekka and she would be supported with likes of Gurjit Kaur and Nikki Pradhan. Gurjit's expertise with penalty corner expert will also help the team in scoring goals. Sushila Chanu, who captained Indian team in the last Olympics will oversee the midfield with support of seasoned players like Monika and Navjot Kaur. 

Forward line is where India's strength lies. While Rani Rampal has proved herself repeatedly, players like Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya and Sharmila Devi too have delivered for the team when it was required. Lamremsiami had a great 2018 and 2019 and was awarded FIH Rising star for 2019. The forward line will have to be on top of their game to fulfill coach Marijne's quarter final goal.

Road To Tokyo 

India’s road to Tokyo has been a thrill ride. Beating the odds, Indian team reached the finals of Asian Games where they fell just short of winning the gold medal after losing finals against Japan. Indian team then got second chance of qualification where they faced USA in the two-legged Olympics Qualification Event. India started off brilliantly in the first game winning 5-1 but USA came back strongly in the second game. USA was leading 4-0 before Rani Rampal came good for India once again and scored a goal that helped India reach Olympics 6-5 on aggregate. 

Key Players 

Without a doubt Rani Rampal. She has carried the team on her shoulders for last 5-6 years and same will be expected of her in the Olympics. Vandana Katariya, another experienced player in the forward line will have to chip in with some goals if India must qualify for the quarter finals. Focus will also be on Gurjit Kaur for her drag flicks. Penalty corners conversions are vital for every team's performance, and she needs to score some goals to help team qualify for quarter finals. Sushila Chanu and Deep Grace Ekka in midfield and defense respectively will play a vital role in keeping the opposition from scoring.  

What do you remember about the last Olympics? Check out our Rio Olympics quiz

Olympics Record 

This is going to the third Olympics participation for India. India’s first participation came in 1980, in an Olympics that was boycotted by teams from the West. India also qualified for the last Olympics but finished in the last place. The last place finish was on expected lines as the team was just shaping up.  


India is placed in tough group- Group A with the likes of Netherlands, Germany, and Great Britain. India will start their campaign against Netherlands on 24th July. The team will have to get the result against one of these top teams to secure their qualification for quarter finals. Complete fixtures for Indian team are: 

26-Jul-21Germany 17:45
28-Jul-21Great Britain6:30
30-Jul-21Ireland 8:15
31-Jul-21South Africa8:45


GOALKEEPERS: Savita Punia 

DEFENDERS: Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur, Udita  

MIDFIELDERS: Nisha, Neha, Sushila Chanu, Monika, Navjot Kaur, Salima Tete  

FORWARDS: Rani Rampal, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Sharmila Devi 

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