The historic bronze medal-winning performance of the Indian junior hockey eves at the 7th Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany, should be an extra dose of motivation for the senior women’s hockey team who will have their task cut out when they take part in the 8th Women’s Asia Cup tourney, which gets underway at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from September 21-27.
The Indian senior women’s hockey team have been plumbing new lows after finishing a poor seventh at the FIH Hockey World League Round 3 event in Rotterdam, where they barely avoided the wooden spoon, prevailing over Chile in a classification match.
The Ritu Rani-led side suffered heavy defeats in the tournament – the Blueskirts were crushed 0-7 by New Zealand in the tournament opener before they went on to suffer humiliating 1-8 and 1-7 drubbings at the hands of the Netherlands and Germany.
The 8th Women’s Asia Cup attaches a lot of significance as the winner seals a ticket to the 2014 Women’s World Cup to be held in the Hague, Netherlands.
As many as eight teams are in the fray.
India senior hockey eves are pitted in a tough Group A alongside defending champions China, hosts Malaysia and Hong Kong.
Rapidly improving Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Kazakhstan comprise Group B.
India can take heart from their performance in the last Asia Cup in 2009 in Bangkok, where they finished runners-up losing 3-5 to China in the title tilt.
India have won the Asia Cup only once at the 2004 Asia Cup in their own backyard in New Delhi, when they vanquished Japan by a solitary goal.
The Blueskirts had finished runners-up in the 1999 edition – also held in New Delhi – losing 2-3 to South Korea.
The inaugural Women’s Asia Cup was first held in Seoul in 1985, where the host nation Korea cornered glory sneaking past Japan in the final showdown.
Korea have won the Women’s Asia Cup on most occasions – three times – they won the championship crown in 1996 in Hiroshima and in 1999 in New Delhi.
China have won the Asia Cup twice – they won the 1989 edition in Hong Kong besides their triumph in the last edition in Bangkok.
Japan have won the Asia Cup only once in 2007.
India have managed a podium finish in four of the seven Women’s Asia Cups so far.