India will be kickstarting the Asian Champions Trophy in three months’ time in Chennai. It will be the seventh edition of the tournament and is expected to start on August 3 and will run till August 12. It will act as a practice tournament for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
After a long while, India will be hosting the Asian heavyweights and fans are excited to see these rivalries and teams from South Asia. Apart from Japan, who came for the Hockey World Cup, most of the Asian teams have not visited India in a long time and this will be their opportunity to make a mark.
“It will be quite a thrilling experience not just for us but also for the spectators. I am hopeful all the hockey fans will turn up in big numbers again to watch us play against some of our top rivals in the Asian continent,” Indian skipper Harmanpreet urges fans to fill the stadium in Chennai.
The Indian team is currently training at the Sports Authority of India facility with an eye on the upcoming European leg of the Hockey Pro League. Harmanpreet revealed that they had a session with new coach Craig Fulton. The Indian skipper praised the tactician and lauded the plans that he had prepared.
“We had our first meeting with new Chief Coach Craig Fulton on Saturday morning. He brings great energy to every session and has a well-structured plan for us this year. We have good momentum right now, having done well in the home games of the Pro League. The idea is to go into the European leg with the same confidence,” Harmanpreet added.
The schedule is totally packed up for the Men in Blue as they will only get 45 days to prepare for the Asian Champions Trophy following their European tour for the Hockey Pro League. We will have a good 45 days to prepare for the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 after we return from the Pro League. Doing well in the Asian Champions Trophy at home will definitely set us up for a good show in the Asian Games. We are thankful to the Tamil Nadu government for extending their support and hosting this mega event in Chennai,” the Indian skipper added.
After a very poor World Cup at home, the Indian team is desperate to bounce back in the upcoming events. They are consciously working on several areas which need improvement heading into these events.
“Since this is going to be a tough year with back-to-back events, we are working on keeping ourselves fresh mentally and physically. Yoga has been added to our weekly routine and it has helped a great deal in channelizing our focus and has done a world of good to our flexibility as well,” Harmanpreet concluded.
The Indian team won the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy back in 2011. However they bagged the bronze medal in the last edition in 2018 and would surely like to improve on that.