Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hockey captain Manpreet targets podium at Tokyo Olympics

 

'We need to keep our heads down and remain focused on the areas that require improvement on the basis of our performance here.'

IMAGE: Eight-time champions India are looking to end an over four-decade-long Olympic medal drought in Tokyo this year. Photograph: Hockey India

India hockey captain Manpreet Singh considers the recent success against reigning Olympic champions Argentina a big confidence-booster, but insists that the team still needs to address some grey areas as it pursues a podium finish at the Summer Games in Tokyo later this year.

Eight-time champions India are looking to end an over four-decade-long Olympic medal drought in Tokyo this year. They had won last of their eight Olympic gold medals in the 1980 Moscow Games.

"No doubt winning against a really strong team like Argentina in their home ground is a big confidence booster, but we shouldn't read too much into the results.
"We need to keep our heads down and remain focused on the areas that require improvement on the basis of our performance here. Our task is not over until we stand on the podium in Tokyo," Manpreet said on Thursday.

In the tour of Argentina, India defeated the hosts in a two-leg FIH Pro League away tie, besides registering two wins, one draw and a loss in the four practice matches.
"After the matches, we feel there are a few areas we need to improve upon. While we did well as a team to come back into the game even in the dying minutes of the match, we feel we could have started better," Manpreet said.

"Also playing consistently, keeping up the pressure on the opponents in all quarters is another area we need to work on."

India are scheduled to play Great Britain in the FIH Pro League on May 8 and 9 in London followed by a double header against Spain in Valencia on May 15 and 16.
After that, the Indians will play Germany in Hamburg on May 22 and 23.

"It was great to resume the FIH Hockey Pro League with 5 points from Argentina and we would like to keep this momentum going into the matches in Europe. These matches will surely be a litmus test for us before Tokyo," Manpreet said.

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