Bhubaneswar: Hockey India on Monday announced Odia player Deep Grace Ekka as vice-captain of the Indian women’s team for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics next month.
While veteran striker Rani Rampal will be the captain, Ekka and experienced goalkeeper Savita Punia are the two vice-captains of the team.
Under Rani’s Captaincy, the Indian team over the past four years have achieved significant milestones like winning the Asia Cup in 2017, winning silver at the Asian Games 2018, silver at Asian Champions Trophy 2018 as well winning the FIH Series Final in 2019. Under her leadership the team also made it to the quarterfinals of the FIH Women’s World Cup 2018 in London for the first time.
Similarly, Grace and Savita have been in the Indian Core group for nearly a decade and have been an integral part of the leadership group. Both of them played a key role in India’s feats which saw them attain career best ranking of World No.9 in 2018 following a strong performance at the FIH Women’s World Cup.
Interacting with the media soon after the announcement, Vice Captain Deep Grace Ekka stated that this new responsibility will motivate her to ensure the team does well in Tokyo. “To lead India as Vice-Captain at the Olympics is a huge honour and it will surely motivate me further to do well for the team. We have players from different regions of India in the team, but we have come closer as a unit over these past 15 months during the pandemic which has been challenging for all,” said Grace who will be playing her second Olympic Games.