Hockey India (HI) on Monday named veteran striker Rani Rampal as the captain of the 16-member Indian women’s hockey squad that will compete at the next month’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Defender Deep Grace Ekka and seasoned goalkeeper Savita Punia will be vice-captains of the team.

While announcing the team on June 17, HI had said that the captain would be named later

“It is a huge honour to lead the Indian team at the Olympics. In these past years my role as a captain was made easy by teammates who shared the responsibilities as senior players. I look forward to this added responsibility and thank HI for this honour,” said Rani after being named captain.

Rani, 26, was also skipper of the Indian women hockey team that competed in 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

HI said that Rani was the obvious choice, not just for her on-field exploits but also for her innate ability to guide the youngsters in the team.

“Savita and Deep have been in the core group for nearly a decade and have been an integral part of the leadership group. They also played a key role in Indian team achieving the best ranking of world No.9 in 2018, following a strong performance at the FIH women’s World Cup,” said HI.

The Indian team has over the past four years achieved significant results, including winning the Asia Cup in 2017, silver at the Asian Games 2018, and the Asian Champions Trophy.

The team led by Rani also made it to the quarterfinals of the FIH women’s World Cup 2018 in London for the first time. She was the cynosure of India’s performance during the FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar where her goal put the team ahead by 6-5 against the USA and secured the qualification.

–IANS

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