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Deepika’s injury a concern for fast-improving Indian eves


Antwerp (Belgium):  Key defender Deepika’s injury sustained in the match against Australia is a concern for the fast-improving Indian women’s team ahead of the knock-out rounds of the Hockey World League Semifinals at the KHC Dragons Stadium here.

Deepika’s fine show in the last preliminary league game against World Cup silver medalists Australia yesterday was marred by the nasty blow she received on her hand in the fourth quarter of the contest that India lost 2-4 after putting up their best show of the tournament.

Writhing in pain Deepika continued playing the game, but later left the arena with a bandaged arm, caused by the blow from an Australian striker’s stick.

“She’s injured, but it is not a fracture,” said C R Kumar, manager of the Indian women’s team.

The Indian team will be hoping she recovers fully in the two-day break before the quarterfinals, where India meet world champions The Netherlands, who topped Group A with four successive wins.

India finished fourth in Group B, with three points garnered from a victory over lowly Poland in four outings. That victory keeps India on track for a chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Indian eves have not featured in the Olympic Games since their lone appearance in 1980.

Three qualifying spots are on offer for the Olympic Games from this tournament, but even some teams that fail to make the semifinals can make it to Rio de Janeiro if the five continental champions throw up any dual qualifiers.

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