I think we can play the Tokyo Olympics final: hockey captain Manpreet
By Saumojyoti S Choudhury (Eds: A EXCLUSIVE)
New Delhi, January 1 () The captain of the national men's hockey team, Manpreet Singh, believes that India has the ability to reach the final of the Tokyo Olympics, provided a sense of discipline and consistency is maintained in the period prior to the four-year extravagance.
Leaving behind a disappointing 2018 in which India crashed in the quarterfinals of the World Cup at home, the Manpreet-led team has managed to maintain its consistency and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics under a new coach in Australia Graham Reid.
Reviewing last year, Manpreet said 2019 has been productive for the team in terms of performance despite not having enough opportunities to compete in high-level international tournaments.
Looking back, 2019 has been very good for us. We started the year in fifth place and managed to maintain that. The biggest goal for us in 2019 was to qualify for the Olympic Games and we did it with a new coach, Manpreet said.
Our main goal in 2019 is to reach the final of the Olympic Games and believe that it is possible. Throughout the year we have managed to maintain the No. 5 position in the world rankings and there is no reason why we cannot go up from that.
But for that, we have to maintain the consistency we've shown throughout 2019, he added.
The midfielder ace, who has been nominated for the 2019 FIH Player of the Year award, said that meetings against the best teams such as the Netherlands, the world champions Belgium and Australia in the next Pro FIH league will give India an idea just where are the eight time standing Olympic champions.
India, which withdrew from the inaugural edition of the Pro-League, will play against the Dutch team on January 18 and 19 before receiving Belgium on February 8 and 9, followed by two more home games against Australia on 22 and 23 of February.
The FIH Pro League is our first step towards Olympic preparation. In the Pro League, we will face all the best teams in the world before the Olympic Games and this experience will give us an idea of where we are before the Olympic Games, Manpreet said. said.
The boss said that the biggest challenge for the Indian men's hockey team in 2019 was the transition from many young players to the senior fold. In 2019, we witnessed a good number of young players who reached the senior category. They fulfilled their potential internationally and outperformed some of the senior types. It is the most positive for us, especially in a busy year, where he will be competing in the FIH Pro-League alongside the Olympic Games, Manpreet said. SSC SSC KHS KHS