The Indian junior women's hockey team will be touring Chile later this month where they will play six matches as they prepare for the Junior World Cup scheduled to be held later in the year.
"We are absolutely ecstatic about touring Chile as it's been a while since we got some match practice due to the coronavirus pandemic, so this will be a good outing especially as it's coming at an apt time. It's all thanks to the efforts taken by Hockey India that we are in a position to return to competition once again," said captain Suman Devi Thoudam.
"It's been very difficult to stay away from tournaments and the tour of Chile has come at the right time. We have practiced well in the last few months and the games against Chile will help us prepare for the Junior Asia Cup which will be held in April 2021. All of us are really looking forward to playing an international tournament after a long break," she added.
The team played their last competition in December 2019 when they squared off against Australia and New Zealand in the 3-Nations Tournament before the Covid-19 pandemic brought sporting activities to a sudden halt. The team had played four matches -- two against New Zealand and two against Australia in which the junior colts won two matches, drew one and lost one.
"This is very exciting news for us. We will be back in the competitive circuit after a long wait. The Indian junior women's hockey team has worked very hard since returning to the junior women's national coaching camp in October and it will be great to see the players execute their skills in a match environment in Chile," said coach Erik Wonink.
"However, the safety of the players and the support staff will be our primary concern on the tour. We have ensured that all the safety protocols for the tour have been put in place," he added.
The 24-member squad for the tour consists of goal-keepers Khushboo and Rashanpreet Kaur, defenders Mahima Choudhary, Priyanka, Gagandeep Kaur, Sushma Kumari and Akshata Dhekale, midfielders Baljeet Kaur, Chetna, Mariana Kujur, Ajmina Kujur, Reet, Prabhleen Kaur, Vaishnavi Phalke and Preeti, and forwards Jiwan Kishori Toppo, Mumtaz Khan, Rutuja Pisal, Sangita Kumari, Beauty Dungdung, Lalrindiki and Deepika.