Veteran midfielder and longtime skipper Ritu Rani was dropped from the Indian women’s hockey squad for the upcoming Rio Olympics and Sushila Chanu named the captain.
Ritu has been an important member of the national team over the years and led them to their first Olympic qualification in 36 years. But she left the national camp last week following allegations of poor performance and attitude problems from Hockey India (HI) officials.
The HI announced the 16-member squad on Tuesday, with Deepika as the vice-captain.
Sushila had captained the Indian team in Ritu’s absence during their tour of Australia earlier this year. She also led the Indian junior women’s team to a bronze medal finish at the 2013 Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach, Germany.
Ritu has been one of the key midfielders for India over the years and her absence could hurt the team’s chances at the Olympics. She made her India debut in 2006 and has notched up 213 international caps.
Ritu has represented the country in almost every tournament and every national camp since her international debut and the Rio Olympics will be the first major tournament that she will miss out on.
At the Rio Olympics, the Indian women’s team have been placed in Group B alongside Argentina, Australia, Britain, Japan and United States.
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika (vice-captain), Namita Toppo, Sunita Lakra (defender), Sushila Chanu (captain).
Midfielders: Navjot Kaur, Monika, Renuka Yadav, Lilima Minz.
Forwards: Anuradha Devi, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Rani Rampal, Preeti Dubey, Nikki Pradhan.
On standby: Rajani Etimarpu, H. Lalruat Feli.