Indian junior women's hockey team set to tour Chile for six games

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New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) The Indian junior women's hockey team will resume competition after more than a year following the coronavirus-induced break when it tours Chile for six matches later this month.

The Indian team, which last played against Australia and New Zealand in a three Nations tournament in December 2019, will take on junior Chile team on January 17 and 18.

Thereafter, the side will be up against the senior Chile team on January 20, 21, 23 and 24.

'The junior women's team has worked very hard since returning to the National Coaching Camp in October and it will be great to see the players execute their skills in a match environment in Chile,' Indian junior women's hockey team coach Erik Wonink said in a release.

Hockey India on Friday named a 4-member junior women's squad, which will be led by defender Suman Devi Thoudam, while Ishika Chaudhary will serve as the vice-captain.

The tour will serve as a much-needed preparations for the Indian team for the all-important Junior World Cup this 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,' Thoudam said.

'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.' The junior colts had a fair outing in Australia when they last travelled for an international assignment, winning two matches, drawing one and losing one.

Hockey India and the Chilean Field Hockey Federation will be creating a bio bubble for all the personnel involved in the tour.

'The entire Indian squad (players & support staff) will be tested twice (once within 72 hours of departure from India & once at arrival in Chile) before the Indian team starts training in Chile,' HI said.

'An affidavit along with the negative PCR test result of each individual travelling squad member has to be submitted at entry in Chile.' The governing body said 'at all times the Indian team has to stick to a strict health bubble and move uniquely and exclusively from the hotel to the pitch and from pitch to the hotel.

'There will be no movement of members out of the hotel except for training and match days.' Indian junior women's squad: Khushboo, Rashanpreet Kaur, Mahima Choudhary, Priyanka, Suman Devi Thoudam (Captain), Gagandeep Kaur, Ishika Chaudhary (Vice Captain), Sushma Kumari, Akshata Dhekale, Baljeet Kaur, Chetna, Mariana Kujur, Ajmina Kujur, Reet, Prabhleen Kaur, Vaishnavi Phalke, Preeti, Jiwan Kishori Toppo, Mumtaz Khan, Rutuja Pisal, Sangita Kumari, Beauty Dungdung, Lalrindiki, Deepika. PTI ATK BS BS