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Indian senior hockey team returns home

FEATURED COLUMNIST
11 Dec 2012, 14:22 IST
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The Indian senior men’s hockey team returned home after an impressive campaign at the 34th FIH Champions Trophy hockey tournament, which concluded recently at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne.

The Indian team pulled off their best performance at the elite tournament since 1982 as they finished fourth, going down 2-3 to Pakistan in the bronze medal play-off match. In fact, it was their first semifinal finish since 2004.

The disappointment of missing out on a bronze by a whisper can be diluted by the fact that India booked its spot in the 2013 Champions Trophy to be held at Argentina. Not just that, the team is also expected to climb up in the FIH world rankings from its current 11th position.

The Champions Trophy campaign saw India’s regular goalkeeper PR Sreejesh pull out with a hamstring injury, while the likes of Sardar Singh, SV Sunil, Danish Mujtaba, Kothajit Singh suffered minor niggles.

The national team is taking a mini break, which would allow all the players to not only recover from their niggles but also recharge their batteries ahead of the upcoming 2nd Asian Champions Trophy, which will be held in Doha, Qatar from December 20-27.

The team is expected to assemble in Patiala for two-three days before it leaves for Doha either on December 17th or December 18th.

India will be pitted against teams like China, Japan, Malaysia, Oman and Pakistan at the 2012 Asian Champions Trophy.

India will launch its Asian Champions Trophy campaign against China on December 20. The blue shirts play Japan on December 21 and Oman on December 23.

India would looking to exact sweet revenge for their bronze medal play-off loss to Pakistan when they meet them on December 24.

They would wrap up their league engagements against Malaysia on December 26.

It may be mentioned here that India had won the inaugural edition of the Asian Champions Trophy last year when they pipped Pakistan 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the summit clash.

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