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Indian women face Singapore in Asia Cup opener

Source: PTI
October 28, 2009 20:59 IST
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After warming up with a stunning 1-0 win over defending champions Japan, India will open their campaign in the women's Asia Cup hockey tournament against Singapore in Bangkok on Friday.

The eight-nation event would double up as a qualifying tourney for the 2010 World Cup.

The 18-member Indian team is being led by this year's Arjuna awardee Surinder Kaur.

Olympian Col Balbir Singh, who as a selector witnessed the selection trials in Bhopal, said India had a bright chance of winning the tournament.

"With the kind of forwards we have, we should do reasonably well," feels the former chief coach.

"With Korea, China and Japan in the field, Asia Cup is tougher and fiercer than the Commonwealth Games. The team has a tough task on their hands but not unattainable," he asserted.

Arjuna Awardee Sita Mehta, also a selector, echoed Singh's thoughts.

"We have been doing reasonably well in the recent past. The team has fresh legs and an enthusiastic lot. We are top favourites for the title, as our forwards are in form," he said.

However, Mehta said the team lacks penalty corner specialists.

"At the same time, we are poor in penalty corners, and it is an area of concern. I don't think this team has any penalty corner experts or expertise," Mehta, who played in the 1999 Asia Cup in Delhi, said.

1982 Asian Games gold medalist Anurita Saini too gave India a 50-50 chance.

"We are physically weaker and therefore have to be stronger in strategy. Kaushik is a veteran coach, I hope he understands what it takes to be a winning situation," he said.

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