Asian Games 2023: Considering the Indian women's softball team's regular participation in the Asian championships, Softball Asia granted a wild card entry to India
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In a historic first, Softball Association of India (SBAI) on Monday announced a 16-member Indian women's team, which is all set to make its debut at the upcoming Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China.
With softball making its debut at the continental event, starting on September 23, SBAI announced the squad along with a standby and three reserves, which was selected after trials for the probable's list, followed by a two-week coaching camp-cum-trials held in Delhi in June-July.
Considering the Indian women's softball team's regular participation in the Asian championships, Softball Asia granted a wild card entry to India.
India's wild card admission was approved by Softball Asia's executive committee in February this year, SBAI said in a media release.
"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," SBAI president Neetal Narang said.
"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," she added.
Reigning national champions Maharashtra contributed the maximum number of players (5) in the Indian team.
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.
Softball was a medal sport at the Tokyo Olympics and it will also feature at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
"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," Narang 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).
Reserves: Manisha Kumari, Priti Verma, Chitra.
(With PTI inputs)