Since the resumption of sports after the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian men’s and women’s hockey have had a series of positive results and given the form that they are in we can very well expect both the teams to at least finish at the podium in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
While COVID-19 has been a big hindrance in the fitness and the mindset of the players, both teams have tried their best to stay fit with their time at the SAI training centre in Bengaluru. The players have been determined to improve and they have explained how they have improved on their fitness and also on their technique even while staying indoors.
The Indian Women’s hockey team has shown steady growth and under the leadership of captain Rani Rampaul, the Indian eves may go a long way in the Summer Games. They qualified for the Tokyo Olympics way back in 2019 and this will be the first time that the Women’s hockey team will be playing in back to back Olympics.
Coached by Sjoerd Marijne, the Indian women’s team have shown great determination and grit against heavyweights like Argentina and Germany. Although they did not win, they showed that they can compete at this level. Their opponents in Group A of the Tokyo Olympics include Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands and South Africa.
Rani admits that she was happy with the fight shown by the ladies but was also disappointed as they could not register a single win. She said, “I am happy with the fight our team showed against Argentina and Germany earlier this year. Of course, we’re disappointed to have not registered a win but we have shown that we could hold our own against higher-ranked opponents. Since coming back from Germany, we have been working hard on our finishing and our technique.”
“I feel we have come a long way from a tactical standpoint. I’m confident that once we convert these good performances into results, we will be in the mix for an Olympic medal too,” she added.
Coming to the Indian Men’s hockey team, Graham Reid’s men are in great form and they are definitely one of the contenders to finish at the podium in Tokyo. The team has the right balance of experience and youthful exuberance and are led by an able leader in Manpreet Singh. The Indian have been winning against the riegning Olympic champions Argentina at the FIH Hockey Pro League and even in their European tour earlier this year they looked really good. They are in Group A in the Tokyo Olympics which include teams like hosts Japan, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.
Manpreet was delighted to be back in action and playing hockey again. He highlighted the mood in the team is like they can defeat any team in the world on their given day. He said, “Firstly, it was good to be back playing international hockey after a long time. I’m very happy with the progress of the team over the last 18 months. If we continue to build on this, I am sure we can defeat any team. The team spirit is high right now and as I said before, we should use every opportunity we get before the Tokyo Olympics to fine-tune our game.”
“The youngsters in the team have come a long way. I’m hoping this form continues and we put a much better display than what we’d managed in the Rio Olympics,” he concluded.