Former India men's hockey team captain Dhanraj Pillay believes that the current side has all the qualities required to win a medal at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2021. He said that the Indian men's and women's team could secure a podium finish at the tournament next year.
During his appearance on Mudit Dani's show In The Sportlight, Dhanraj Pillay talked about India's chances of winning an Olympic medal in hockey next year. He listed the strengths of the men's and the women's sides before concluding that they had the caliber to finish in the top three.
I am 100% sure that the Indian men's hockey team will do wonders at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics: Dhanraj Pillay
When asked about his expectations from the Indian hockey teams at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Dhanraj Pillay replied:
"If you see the last 3-4 years, our Indian women's team and the men's team are performing very well, and they have qualified for the Olympics. They have all the potential to be on the podium in the 2021 Olympics. It was unfortunate that the pandemic has come, and because of that, almost 7-8 months' training was gone. But I am very confident."
The four-time Olympian then spoke about the stars present in the Indian men's hockey team. He labeled Manpreet Singh as one of the best captains, while he felt that PR Sreejesh's experience would be vital at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Dhanraj Pillay added that SV Sunil, Rupinder Pal Singh, and Lalit Upadhyay could be match-winners for the team. However, he also mentioned that the squad should not think about the grand final and instead adopt a 'one match at a time' approach.
"I am 100% sure and have 100% confidence that this team will definitely do wonders in the Olympics," the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee said.
Next, Dhanraj Pillay spoke about the Indian women's hockey team's chances at the Tokyo Olympics 2021 and said:
"We have one of the best captains in Rani. I think Rani and goalkeeper Savita can take the team to a podium finish. The team is working really hard, preparing for the Olympics, and am confident of a good show."
The 2021 Tokyo Olympics will begin on 23rd July. It will be interesting to see if the Indian men's and women's hockey teams could go on to win a medal at the grandest sports competition.