After a successful tour of Argentina where the Indian Men’s Hockey team won both their FIH Hockey Pro League matches against the reigning Olympic champions, the boys have come together to join the national camp held in Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru. The 22-member squad that travelled have now assembled along with the 11 players who stayed back in the country after all the required quarantine protocols.
Skipper Manpreet Singh’s return gave the players more motivation to perform and they showed great signs of spirit and determination among their ranks. India defeated the hosts, Argentina 3-2 in the penalty shootout in the first match while coming up with a 3-0 dominant win. Head coach Graham Reid and his men were ecstatic with the performance and it has given them a lot of mental strength and confidence ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. The team has started believing in themselves that at least a podium finish in Tokyo is possible if not more.
The Men in Blue also played out four practice matches, two each on either side of both the Pro League matches and there they ended with two wins, a draw and a loss.
Chief coach Graham Reid feels that the teams’ performance in the Argentina tour is a testament to the fact that they are on the right track in terms of preparation for the Olympics. The Australian always emphasises the importance of playing top quality oppositions as he feels that it allows the team to evaluate their own condition and prepare accordingly.
“These matches in Argentina were extremely important for us to access the level we are at with less than 100 days to go for the Tokyo Olympic Games. We also managed to get a few practice sessions in Buenos Aires and we are really grateful to the CAH (Confederación Argentina de Hockey) for their hospitality,” Chief Coach Graham Reid said in a media release.
“We will continue with our training with a specific focus on the areas we feel can improve our performance in Argentina,” Reid added.
While 33 players have gathered at the national camp in SAI Bengaluru, the Indian Men’s Hockey team’s next FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Great Britain has been postponed due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. The Men in Blue were scheduled to play two matches on May 8 and 9. However, as the UK government has put India on their red list due to the rise in cases, the Indian team cannot travel to England.