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Home support will be a huge boost during Olympic Qualifiers — Captain Rani Rampal

Indian women's hockey tem skipper Rani believes that the consistency in selection has helped her team members in understanding each other better on and off the field.

Home support will be a huge boost during Olympic Qualifiers — Captain Rani Rampal
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Published: 19 Oct 2019 11:16 AM GMT

 The 18-member Indian Women's Hockey team was announced here on Friday by Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne which saw the Dutchman retain the players who represented India in their preparatory tour of England earlier this month, and skipper Rani believes that the consistency in selection has helped her team members in understanding each other better on and off the field.

We have a group of players who have played together for a good period of time, and that obviously helps in building a good understanding between all the team members. We know each other in and out, and all of us understand each other both on and off the field, so I believe it has also helped us a lot. We are now preparing to be at their best when we take on USA in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers here at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium.

Looking back at her experience of representing the national team in front of home support, Rani said the support in Bhubaneswar will be a huge boost for her side. "Some members from this team have played in India before but that was way back in the FIH World League Round 2 in 2013, but the crowd that comes out to watch hockey in Bhubaneswar is nothing like that. We know we will be cheered on from the first minute of the match, and we are all looking forward to playing at home. It is a good moment in your life when you play such a huge match in front of your home crowd, and the team is looking forward to producing a great performance and enjoying it on the field," she said.

 Rani said there is pressure, but her team has huge belief in themselves.
Rani said there is pressure, but her team has huge belief in themselves.

"We are looking at all the positives and we know it is always an advantage when you play at home. But USA is a strong side, and they will also be at their best when we face them here. I am sure they will be coming to win, but we have confidence in ourselves, and the energy that you get from the crowd shall only help us in giving our best on the field," said the 24-year-old.

Leading the side into two matches of such high intensity, Rani said there is pressure, but her team has huge belief in themselves, and are focusing on doing the basics right in both the matches. She said:

We all know how important these matches are, but we cannot let them get to us. We have played in huge matches before and we now have the experience of coping up with the pressure. We will play our own game, and focus on the basics. If we can continue with the way we have been playing, and play according to our plans, we will be able to produce good results.

The Indian Women’s Team will have open training sessions on 19th and 26th October 2019
The Indian Women’s Team will have open training sessions on 19th and 26th October 2019

The Indian Women’s Team will have open training sessions on 19th and 26th October 2019 from 1730 - 1900hrs IST. These practice sessions will be open for public in order to give the local support the opportunity to watch their Women's team's players live in action before the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha.

The Indian Men's Hockey team will be vying for an Olympic berth when they take on Russia in the crucial FIH Olympic Qualifiers to be held on November 1 and 2 at the iconic Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. For the very first time, the Indian Women's Hockey team too will be playing in front of the hockey-loving people of Odisha when they take on USA in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers at the Kalinga Stadium on November 1 and 2. The excitement among the teams is palpable and they are working towards peaking at this important event. Having represented India at the Rio Olympics after 36 years, the women's team will be aiming to take part in their second consecutive Olympics in the history of Indian hockey and they are confident of making history. Make sure you witness history unfold at the Kalinga Stadium by booking your tickets.

Tickets for the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha are available here

The winners of the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha will qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The winners will be determined as follows: teams will be ranked according to the number of points each has accumulated in both matches (for each match, 3 points are awarded to the winner, 1 point to each team in the event of a draw and 0 point to the loser). If there is equality among the two teams, then the teams will be ranked according to their respective goal difference. If the equality remains, a shoot-out competition will be played to establish the winner. Therefore, the objective of both the Indian Men's and Indian Women's Hockey Teams will be to secure direct qualification for the Tokyo 2020 hockey tournaments - which will be staged in Japan’s capital city from 25 July to 7 August next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.

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