CWG 2022: Indian women hockey team seeks Tokyo inspiration to end medal drought | Commonwealth Games 2022 News

BIRMINGHAM: With a podium in mind, India’s women’s hockey team would look to put their disastrous World Cup campaign behind them and start afresh against Ghana in Friday’s Commonwealth Games opener.
The Indians are clubbed in Pool A alongside England, Canada, Wales and Ghana, while Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland and Kenya complete hen B.
Like their male counterparts, the Indians came back empty-handed from the last edition of the Gold Coast Games, finishing fourth after being beaten 0-6 by England in the bronze medal play-off.
Heading into the final Games, the Indians were troubled by their below-average outing at the recently concluded World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands, where the Savita Punia-led side finished a ninth. disappointing.
Now the team coached by Janneke Schopman would be desperate to prove that they are a much better team than recent results indicate. They would be eager to prove that the historic fourth place at the Tokyo Olympics last year was no fluke.
The Indian women are also hoping to break their 16-year-old medal brought to the Games. India’s last medal – a silver – in CWG came in 2006 in Melbourne. The only other medal the Indians have won at the Games since the introduction of hockey in 1998 was a gold medal at the 2002 edition in Manchester.
“We were disappointed with our performance in the last edition of the tournament, but this time around we will definitely look to do better,” captain Savita told a virtual press conference on Thursday.
“We are confident of our medal chances and a resounding victory against Ghana will be the perfect start to our 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign.”
Apart from the stellar Olympic campaign, the Indians would also be boosted by their creditable third-place finish in their first Pro League outing this season.
But to finish on the podium, the ninth-ranked Indians will have to get the better of world No. 3 Australia, fifth-ranked England and world No. 8 New Zealand, who are also serious contenders for the medals.
In the last edition of the Games, New Zealand won the gold medal ahead of Australia and the rivals of Trans-Tasman would also like to have their chances in these Games.
Australia dominated women’s hockey at the CWG, winning as many as four gold, one silver and one bronze.
While India expect it to be a cakewalk for India in their opening two pool games against world No. 30 Ghana and world No. 24 Wales (Saturday ), Savita’s side will face their first real challenge against England on August 2, before finishing. their pool campaign against No. 15 Canada.
While the top two teams from each pool advance to the semi-finals, India and England are the clear favorites in Pool A unless something drastic happens.
But the recent World Cup has exposed some cracks in India’s armor which they need to address quickly.
For the Indian women, while conversions from penalty corners remain a major concern, forwards also need to pull their socks up.
In the World Cup, the Indians created plenty of scoring chances in open play as well as penalty corners but squandered most of the opportunities.
Coach Schopman would expect a much improved show from his forwards and drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur.
India vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka said: “We will be looking to outplay Ghana from the first whistle to make sure we can beat them as convincingly as we did last time.”
“We will look to move the ball quickly so that we can penetrate the Ghanaian defence. Over the past two years we have played an aggressive style and we would look to continue the same.”
In the other Pool A game of the day, Canada will face Wales.

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