Two Panjabi girls to don Canada jersey for Junior Women’s World Cup

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Harnoor Malhi (left) and Ishaval Sekhon

By Prabhjot Paul Singh | Sports |

Harnoor Malhi of Toronto and Ishaval Sekhon of Surrey will join Canada’s field hockey team for the Junior Women’s World Cup tournament from April 1 to 12 in South Africa.

Field Hockey Canada named them as part of its 20-member squad for the Potchefstroom event. Players must be born in 2000 or earlier to be eligible for this round of the Junior World Cup.

Harnoor, a defence player, is majoring in Human Biology at the University of Toronto. Ishaval, who was part of the U17 National Team, is a goalkeeper.

Canada earned its berth for the Junior World Cup by winning the 2021 Junior Pan American Championships in Santiago, Chile, in August. The gold medal is the first in the history and first Canadian women’s Pan American gold registered at any outdoor level. Canada is placed in a pool with Netherlands, USA, and Zimbabwe.

The shadow of the Omicron pandemic continues to loom large over competitive sports.

Other than the last minute withdrawal of Japan from the Junior Women’s Hockey World Cup, Australia and New Zealand, for example, withdrew from all International Hockey Federation events, including the FIH Pro League. They were followed by Canada that even after accepting invitation to play in the third edition of the elite league stepped back citing the Omicron pandemic as the reason.

France and South Africa are playing in the FIH Pro League as replacement teams.

Now Japan has decided to withdraw its team from the Junior Women’s World Cup Hockey Tournament to be held in Potchefstroom in South Africa from April 1. Its place will be taken by Malaysia.

For Malaysia, it will be its debut in this elite tournament that started in 1989 in Ottawa. Malaysia is currently ranked fifth in Asia. Incidentally, the Malaysian Hockey Federation has a tough task on hand as it must select and train its team in the next six weeks.

For this Women’s Junior World Cup, Malaysia is ranked 20th. The ranking of the other teams are as follows: Netherlands (ranked No. 1), England (2nd), Argentina (3rd), Germany (5th), India (9th), Korea (11th), Ireland (12th), Canada (13th), United State (15th), South Africa (16th), Russia (22nd), Wales (23rd), Uruguay (26th), Ukraine (28th) and Zimbabwe (54th).

Prabhjot Singh is a veteran journalist with over three decades of experience covering a wide spectrum of subjects and stories. He has covered  Punjab and Sikh affairs for more than three decades besides covering seven Olympics and several major sporting events and hosting TV shows. For more in-depth analysis please visit probingeye.com  or follow him on Twitter.com/probingeye

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