The Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams have left for Tokyo with huge expectations. They will have the responsibility to bring back the glory days of hockey in this country.
Reflecting the similar emotions of the Indian Men’s team, head coach Graham Reid also assured that the Men in Blue are excited to be in Tokyo. He said, “The team is absolutely excited. They have all worked really hard for this moment and it is time to convert the sacrifices made over the last couple of months and years into desirable results in Tokyo. As I have always said, our aim will be to perform best hockey match-by-match. The team is mentally prepared to face the challenges on and off the field at the Tokyo Olympics.”
The Men’s team will begin action on July 24th against New Zealand in a Pool A match. They also have teams like Australia, reigning Olympic champions Argentina, Spain and hosts Japan in their pool.
Before leaving for the Summer Games, Reid expressed his gratitude towards the Sports Authority of Indian and Hockey India for facilitating the training session. He said, “As we leave Bengaluru, we are filled with gratitude towards the staff at SAI Bengaluru, Sports Authority of India and Hockey India who ensured we got everything needed in the last 15 months while training in a bio-bubble. Hockey India and SAI have been a huge support in our preparations.”
Indian women’s team head coach Sjoerd Marijne also reiterated the same things. The Dutchman asserted how he believes in the strength of this team ahead of the showpiece event. He said, “It was quite emotional for us when we had our last training session yesterday (Friday) in SAI, Bengaluru. This group is really special. They are very strong mentally and I believe this will be one of our assets when we take on big teams in Tokyo. We are geared up for the challenge.”
The Rani Rampal led side will play the opening match against the top-ranked Netherlands side in Pool A. Followed by matches against Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa.
Looking at the preparations both Reid and Marijne have high hopes from both the Indian hockey teams. “I think one of the first big challenges for the team upon arrival in Tokyo will be to get acclimatized as Bengaluru weather has been very pleasant these past few weeks. Although we mostly trained in the noon to work under the sun, Tokyo weather will be humid and challenging. No matter the hurdles we may face, the team is optimistic about having a good tournament,” Sjoerd Marijne concluded.