Indian Women's Hockey Team to Undergo Major Overhaul for 2028 Olympics

Indian Women's Hockey Team to Undergo Major Overhaul for 2028 Olympics

The Indian women's hockey team's failure to qualify for the Paris Olympics has sparked a call for a major overhaul. With 16 fewer athletes set to travel to the Games, experts believe it's time to rebuild the team for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Former coach Neil Hawgood emphasizes the need to identify players who will be available in 2028 and start a new project involving junior team players. He suggests using the Pro League as a platform for their growth. Sjoerd Marijne, the team's coach for the Tokyo Olympics, agrees, stressing the importance of choosing players who will play for India for a long time.

India's next major tournaments will be in 2026, including the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and World Cup. The Asian Games hold particular significance as a gold medal would secure a direct qualification for the LA Olympics. Hawgood believes India should use the Pro League as an exposure and experimental tournament to inject young blood and build a solid bench strength.

Former captain Pritam Rani Siwach echoes this sentiment, calling for a mix of juniors and seniors to create a core group that can play until LA. She also advocates for a development camp to identify and promote talented players.

One crucial area that needs improvement is penalty corner conversion. Marijne emphasizes the need to work on converting chances into goals. Another key aspect is the exposure given to the second goalkeeper. The reliance on Savita Punia has been overwhelming, and the team could face problems when she retires.

Finally, the search for a new coach is underway. Hawgood believes it's time for a local coach with a foreign advisor to develop a solid link between senior and junior teams.

Tags: #IndianHockey, #WomensHockey, #ParisOlympics, #LosAngelesOlympics, #NeilHawgood

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