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Indian hockey teams to begin Olympic preparations against familiar foes



The men's hockey team will begin their Olympic preparartions against Malaysia.

Tokyo: After securing their place in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers by winning their respective FIH Series Finals in June 2019, India’s hockey teams will start their Olympic Test Event campaigns here at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

The Indian men’s team, currently ranked No. 5 in the world, will play World No. 12 Malaysia in their opening encounter, while the World No. 10 Indian women’s side will be up against World No. 14 Japan.

As part of their preparations for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, the Indian teams will face good competition at the Olympic Test Event, with the Men’s team facing world no 12 Malaysia on Saturday, and then playing world no 8 New Zealand on Sunday, and world no 16 Japan in their last round-robin match.

The men’s team is the top-ranked team in the competition and will be confident of producing good performances starting Saturday.

Under captain Harmanpreet Singh, India will face Malaysia, who they last played at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 where India won 4-2.

The Indians have a formidable record against the world no 12 side as in the last 10 meetings between the two Asian rivals, India have won six matches, with Malaysia only managing three wins.

Chief coach Graham Reid said that he expects a good match against Malaysia on Saturday. “We are looking forward to tomorrow’s first match of the Olympic Test Event against Malaysia. We have had some good tough training sessions in both brand new stadiums and after a light training session today, we will be ready for tomorrow’s encounter. Historically we have had some grand battles against Malaysia and I don’t see tomorrow being any different,” stated Reid ahead of their opener.

Chief coach of the women’s team, Sjoerd Marijne said, “We are looking forward to starting well at the Olympic Test Event. This is a great opportunity for us to play against other strong teams, and it will give us the chance to see where we need to improve ahead of the crucial FIH Olympic Qualifiers later this year.”

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Harmanpreet Singh to lead Indian men’s team for Olympic test



Harmanpreet Singh named the Captain of the Indian Men's Team for the Olympic test.

Bengaluru: Having debuted for the Indian team in May 2015 against Japan during a Test Series in Bhubaneswar, Harmanpreet Singh will lead Indian Men’s Team for the Olympic Test event in Japan where India will take on Malaysia, New Zealand and hosts Japan starting 17 August 2019. sport

Speaking of the task ahead, Harmanpreet said they will be leaving for Japan with an intent to win the tournament. “Malaysia, Japan, and New Zealand are good teams to play against and see where we stand as a unit ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers. sport

“Malaysia recently beat Germany in a match and Japan too are doing well while New Zealand is coming into the event with good exposure from the FIH Pro League. In the absence of senior players who are rested, it is important we step-up our game. sports news headlines

“We are well-prepared, having attended a special Goalkeepers Camp and Defenders Camp. We will be playing every match with the intent to win,” he stated.

He was one of the youngest in the Indian unit that played at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, a place he secured after a memorable outing in the FIH Champions Trophy in London only months before the quadrennial sporting extravaganza. sports news headlines

“When I look back, I feel fortunate to have come into the Indian team at a time when there were stalwart players from whom I could learn a lot. Players like Sardar Singh and VR Raghunath had a positive impact on my nascent days in the Senior team and their guidance helped me soak up the pressures of International hockey,” reckoned Harmanpreet.

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Topno, Shamsher earn debut call-ups in Indian men’s hockey team



Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh have been named the captain and vice-captain respectively.

New Delhi: Hockey India has rested senior players including Captain Manpreet Singh, PR Sreejesh and Surender Kumar.

The Indian team chief coach Graham Reid said that the break will help the players shake off any niggling injuries and get fresh ahead of the Olympic qualifying matches in November.

“We are resting some senior players including Manpreet Singh some of whom have had a very rigorous last 12 months of hockey and will give them a chance to shake off any niggling injuries and get fresh for the next three months of preparation for the November qualifying matches,” said Reid.

In the absence of the senior players, Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh have been named the captain and vice-captain respectively and two players Ashis Topno and Shamsher Singh have earned their debut spots in the Indian national team. However, experienced striker SV Sunil has returned to the national team after a gap of nine months.

Reid expressed that the Olympic Test Event will give a few players a chance to show their mettle at the international stage.

“With no world ranking points at risk, the Tokyo tes

t event gives us an ideal opportunity to not only get a first-hand look at how Tokyo is shaping up for next year’s Olympics, we will also see some players who have not had a chance to show us what they can do on the international stage,” said Reid.

Squad: Harmanpreet Singh (Captain) and Mandeep Singh (Vice-Captain); Goalkeepers Krishan Bahadur Pathak and Suraj Karkera; Defenders Gurinder Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Hardik Singh, and Nilam Sanjeep Xess; Midfielders Nilakanta Sharma, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Jaskaran Singh, and Ashis Topno; Forward players Gursahibjit Singh, Gurjant Singh, SV Sunil, and Shamsher Singh

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Invitee Kavanagh helping improve tackling skills, feels defender Surender



New Delhi: Over the past week, the Indian men’s hockey team have focused on improving their defending skills. The team is under the eyes of chief coach Graham Reid and analytical coach Chris Ciriello. Two-time World Cup winner Australian Fergus Kavanagh, who is working with the team on an invitation by Hockey India, a media release stated.

The Indian defender feels Kavanagh’s tips in tackling and positioning will play a key role in team’s outing at the Olympic Test Event next month in Japan.

Surender Kumar one of the most reliable defenders in the current Indian team said, “When we played matches in Australia in May this year, we really felt that we fell short in our defence. We made errors that led to conceding PCs and we also gave away goals in pressure situations. When we regrouped in Bhubaneswar for the FIH Men’s Series Finals, our priority was to get our defence right. Though we eventually managed to execute what we had worked on, it’s now important to show the same consistency against higher ranked teams.”

At the Olympic Test event in Japan, India will play against nemesis Malaysia, New Zealand and hosts Japan. The event will start from August 17 and Surender feels the results of this defender’s camp will show during this event.

Coach Fergus Kavanagh tips in tackling and positioning will play a key role in team’s outing at the Olympic Test Event next month in Japan.

“No doubt this Camp has been very beneficial for the team. We have been watching our previous match videos and working on minor details such as the distance that needs to be maintained between forwards and defence line,” Surender added.

“It’s now important that we execute what we have been doing in these practice sessions in match situations. When we train, we do create mock pressure situations and working with Fergus has been fun because he brings that player-enthusiasm to each session and as a player I admired him for his ability of making zero errors in most tense situations. Though I never played against him I have watched him closely during Hockey India League and having him train with us now is fun and I am sure will be result-oriented,” he continued.

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