Bengaluru, May 28 (IANS): Indian women's hockey team left for the Junior Asia Cup 2023 from Kempegowda International Airport here on Sunday morning.
The Junior Asia Cup, which is a qualifying event for the FIH Junior World Cup, is scheduled to begin on June 2 in Kakamigahara, Japan.
India will be up against Korea, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan in Pool A during the group stage while Pool B consists of hosts Japan, China, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong China and Indonesia.
They will begin their campaign against Uzbekistan on June 3 followed by a match against Malaysia on June 5. They will take on Korea on June 6 and Chinese Taipei on June 8. The semifinal will be held on June 10 while the final will be played on June 11.
India's campaign will be spearheaded by captain Preeti along with vice-captain Deepika and the squad also features players who have had the experience of playing with the senior side.
"We are very confident of our campaign. We have a good, experienced team. We have worked hard over the past few months and the team is quite excited and eager to do our best in Japan," said Preeti.
"We have been fortunate to gain some experience playing against the Senior side as we trained in the same campus. Our team has also been in a campus together for a while so there is good team bonding and we know our strengths and weaknesses," explained vice captain Deepika ahead of the team's departure.
"Typically, in this tournament, India has always done well and we look forward to keeping that trend going. Our first aim will be to finish on top in the group stage and then take it one match at a time in the knockout stage," she added.
The tournament is a crucial event for India as the top three nations from the tournament will qualify to the FIH Junior World Cup 2023 in Santiago, Chile.