Indian Hockey News | We can play the final of Tokyo Olympics: Manpreet Singh
What's the story?
Indian men's hockey team captain, Manpreet Singh has expressed confidence in his men ahead of the FIH Pro League and said that India can play the final of the forthcoming Olympics in Tokyo. The mid-fielder also mentioned that India's upcoming encounters against the top hockey sides of the world will give them a clear idea of where they stand.
With 8 gold medals, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals at the Olympics, the Indian's men hockey team holds the record for being the most successful team in the sport. Their performance has declined over the years but the team achieved stability under the Australian coach Graham Reid last year. India had crashed out of the quarterfinals of the 2018 Hockey World Cup but, the Indian skipper feels that the nation will make it to the finale of the Olympics later this year.
The heart of the matter
Talking to PTI on Wednesday (1st January), Manpreet Singh revealed the Indian team's goals for 2020. He reflected on the team's performances in 2019 and said:
"Looking back, 2019 has been very good for us. We started the year in the fifth spot and managed to maintain that. The biggest aim for us in 2019 was to qualify for the Olympics and we have managed to achieve that under a new coach."
Referring to his side's targets in 2020, he added:
"Our main target in 2020 is to reach the finals of the Olympics and believe me it's achievable. Throughout the year we have managed to maintain the No. 5 position in world rankings and there is no reason why we can't climb from that. But for that, we have to maintain the consistency which we have shown in the entire 2019."
Putting some light on the team's schedule for the year 2020, Manpreet specified that playing against Netherlands, Belgium, and Australia in the next two months will give the team a clearer idea of their current position. He also spoke about the growth of the young hockey stars and continued:
"The FIH Pro League is our first step towards Olympic preparation. In the Pro League, we will get to face all the top teams of the world before the Olympics and this experience will give us an idea where we stand before the Olympics. In 2019, we witnessed quite a few young players making it into the senior side. They performed to their potential at the international level and outsmarted some of the senior guys. It's the biggest positive for us, especially in a busy year, where we will be competing at the FIH Pro-League besides the Olympics."
It will be intriguing to see how India performs in the FIH Pro League. They will meet the Netherlands in their first two back-to-back encounters on January 18 and 19 in Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium. The next back-to-back games are against Belgium on February 8 and 9 when Belgium visits, followed by Australia who play Indian on February 22 and 23 at the same venue.