India celebrate qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games
India celebrate qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games
(Photo: Fieldhockey.fr)

After a two day selection camp last week, Hockey India today announced their team for the 2012 Olympic Games next month in London.

As expected, there were no major surprises, with the team almost identical to the one that competed at the recent Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, in which India won a bronze medal amongst a strong field of mostly fellow Olympic competitors. Goalkeeper Bharat Chetri has been selected to lead the team as captain, with Indian hockey's superstar midfielder Sardar Singh supporting as vice-captain.

Other players moving forward from the bronze team are penalty corner specialists Sandeep Singh and VR Ragunath, midfielders Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra and Gurbaj Singh as well as forwards Shivendra Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Tushar Khandker, SV Sunil, Dharamvir Singh and SK Uthappa. Replacing Yuvraj Walmiki and Rupinderpal Singh, who are the two players from to the Azlan Shah team missing out, are veteran defender Ignace Tirkey and forward Gurwinder Singh Chandi.

In an interesting move, head coach Michael Nobbs has also decided to include the team's second goalkeeper, PR Sreejesh, in the core 16 player squad, while the tendency amongst the rest of the participating teams so far has been to include only one goalkeeper. The two P-accredited athletes for India - available only in case of serious and permanently incapacitating injury to anther athlete - will be Sarwanjeet Singh and Kothajit Singh.

The Indian team is set to travel to Europe at the end of the month for a busy three week programme of preparation for the Olympic Hockey Tournament. After playing two test matches against France in Lille, India move on to the Spanish city of Santander, where they will play two tests each against South Africa and Spain, before taking part in a three nations event with Spain and Great Britain.

Source: Hockey India Release