Girls’s hockey group held by Argentine juniors

Buenos Aires, January 18

Sharmila Devi and Deep Grace Ekka scored a goal each as the Indian women’s hockey team began its tour of Argentina with a 2-2 draw against the country’s junior national team here.

In a well-contested match, goals from young Indian striker Sharmila (22nd minute) and the experienced Ekka (31st) were cancelled out by strikes from Paula Santamarina (28th) and Brisa Bruggesser (48th).

Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne lauded the performance of the Indian team, which was returning to international competition after a year following the coronavirus-forced break. “It was a typical first match after a long gap,” Marijne said. “Playing a competitive side after a year takes time to get into the rhythm and we played 23 athletes to give them all a feeling of playing in a match after a long gap,” he added.

India will again take on the junior women on January 20. “We will need to build on our rhythm match-by-match. We will be thoroughly analysing this match and the key will be to learn from the mistakes we made here and be ready for the next game,” Sjoerd said.

Dungdung’s hat-trick

Santiago (Chile): Striker Beauty Dungdung scored a hat-trick as the Indian junior women’s hockey team beat the Chilean junior women’s team 5-3.

The striker from Jharkhand scored in the 29th, 38th and 52nd minutes, while Lalrindiki (14th) and Sangita Kumari (30th) also registered their names on the scoresheet for India.

Chile’s goals were scored by Simone Avelli (10th), Paula Sanz (25th) and Fernanda Arrieta (49th).

Pro League will be the perfect test: Sreejesh

Bengaluru: Hopeful that the next leg of FIH Hockey Pro League will go ahead as per schedule in April, Indian men’s hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh feels competing against strong teams in the tournament will be the perfect test ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

In the next leg of FIH Hockey Pro League matches, India are scheduled to play against Argentina in April, and Britain, Spain and Germany in May. The team will also compete against New Zealand at home in May.

“We are hopeful the FIH Hockey Pro League matches are held as per schedule this year, that way we get good matches against strong teams ahead of Tokyo Olympics in July,” Sreejesh said. “I am sure the final team selection for the Olympics will depend on how well we do in these matches,” he added. — PTI

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