It was a historic year for the Indian men’s hockey team as they broke 41-year old jinx at the Olympics to finally bag the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. However, skipper Manpreet Singh wants to start 2022 on the same note.
The Men in Blue are anticipating a tough Asian Games this year therefore Manpreet feels that the FIH Hockey Pro League will be the best platform to try out new combinations.
“Asian Games will undoubtedly be the biggest event for us this year. Surely the competition will be quite tough at the Asian Games as all teams will be vying to make the Olympics cut (by winning gold),” he said in a recent interview.
Manpreet’s aim is to win the gold medal at the Asian Games and secure their spot at the Paris Olympics that will be held in 2024. Therefore the Indian team will have to make sure that they leave no stone unturned in the Asian Games. They could only manage the Bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games.
So coach Graham Reid and his men will be looking to prepare themselves in the FIH Hockey Pro League matches as they take on quality teams like Spain, Germany, Argentina and England in February in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
“This year is going to be quite exciting with back-to-back tournaments all year long. We begin with FIH Pro League matches in February. After almost two years, we will be returning to our favourite venue in Bhubaneswar where we will play double-headers against Spain, Germany, Argentina and England,” he said.
Manpreet Singh feels that trying out different players and different combinations at the FIH Hockey Pro League against quality opponents will make them mentally and physically prepared for the Asian Games.
“The FIH Pro League will help us gain some really good match experience ahead of Asian Games. Additionally, it will give us great opportunity to try out different combinations ahead of Asian Games,” he said in a Hockey India release.
The players are all set to report at the Sports Authority of India Bengaluru camp following a short break after their Asian Champions Tour campaign in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The captain feels that it was a much needed break for the players as they got to spend time with families and keep their heads out of the spot. He is hopeful that they can do well this year especially in the Asian Games.