New Delhi ,25 July: A 16-member Indian women's softball team is all set to debut at the 19th Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China, in September-October.
Softball is making its debut in the 19th edition of the Asian Games and will also be a medal sport in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. It was also a medal sport in the last edition of the quadrennial games in 2020 Tokyo.
Considering the Indian women's softball team's regular participation in the Asian championships, Softball Asia granted it a wild card entry . India's wild card admission was approved by Softball Asia’s executive committee in February this year.
After trials for the probable’s list, followed by a two-week coaching camp-cum-trials held in Delhi in June-July, the Softball Association of India (SBAI) - has named a 16-member squad along with standby & three reserves.
Reigning national champions Maharashtra contributed the maximum number of players in the Indian team. Five girls from the state got a place in the national squad. Kerala and Punjab contributed three and two girls, respectively, while there is a player each from Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh.
"The participation of the Indian women's softball team in the Asian Games signifies the opportunity for our players to shine and prove their mettle against the best teams in the continent, including Tokyo Olympics champion Japan and world-ranked number three Chinese Taipei. " said Neetal Narang ,the first woman president of SBAI
"Moreover, this milestone also holds the promise of inspiring future generations of young athletes, particularly girls, to take up softball as a sport of choice," says Neetal Narang, the first woman president of the Softball Association of India."
"Performing at the Asian Games is our first step and comes with a huge responsibility as we aspire to be a strong team ahead of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. We are taking Hangzhou as a strong platform towards our goal of qualifying for the 2028 Olympics," she added .
Aishwarya Ramesh Puri, Aishwarya Sunil Bodke, Monali Mansing Natu, Swapnali C. Waydnade, Saee Anil Joshi, Anjali Pallikkara, Stephy Saji, Rinta Cheriyan, Mamatha Guguloth, Ganga Sona, Mamta Minhas, Sandeep Kaur, Kumari Manisha, Isha, Swetasini Sabar, Nitya Malvi, Priyanka Baghel (standby).
Manisha Kumari, Priti Verma, Chitra.