Indian men’s ice hockey team captain Manpreet Singh said the FIH Pro League will help the team get “some really good ones ahead of the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, which will serve as the direct qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympics Experience “.
The Indian men’s ice hockey team missed direct qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after finishing third at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. At the Olympic qualification tournament in Bhubaneswar 2019, they finally achieved the Tokyo 2020 mark.
“The Asian Games will undoubtedly be the biggest event for us this year. The Asian Champions Trophy (recently held in Dhaka) was a good tournament to see the progress of other Asian teams and from what we saw the competition becomes sure to be pretty tough at the Asian Games as all teams will fight to finish the Olympics, “said Manpreet.
Only the gold medal winners in men’s and women’s hockey achieve direct Olympic qualification at the Asian Games.
Manpreet, who is back at the national camp with his teammates after a brief hiatus after the Asia Champions Trophy outing in Dhaka, added on Monday that the Pro League will help the team try different combinations to get their game on improve the Asian Games.
“I think the FIH Hockey Pro League will help us get some really good gaming experience before the Asian Games. I also think that the FIH Hockey Pro League games are a great opportunity for us to try different combinations before the Asian Games.”
Manpreet said the team is optimistic and looking forward to an exciting but also hectic year.
“This year is going to be pretty exciting with back-to-back tournaments all year round. We start the season with FIH Hockey Pro League games in February. After almost two years, we are going back to our favorite spot in Bhubaneswar, where we will face doubles against Spain, Germany, Argentina and England, “he said.
The captain said the camp will be important in evaluating her achievements from last year and planning for the year ahead.
“It was a very nice 10-day break for all of us, during which we spent some time with our families. I feel like we got back to camp mentally fresh and ready for the challenge ahead. We will evaluate our performances in 2021 with the head coach (Graham Reid) and the supervisors and we will also create a roadmap for 2022, “added the midfielder.
Before the busy year in which India will defend its title in the Asia Cup before competing in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (July) and then in the Asian Games, Manpreet emphasized the importance of staying mentally fit.
“It’s very important for us to stay mentally fresh from tournament to tournament. After facing the challenges of training and playing in a bio-bubble, we got tougher together and I think the team and the support collectively be paying more attention to mental health.
“Overall, we’re ready for 2022 and wish all hockey fans a great year and appeal to everyone to follow all COVID protocols, wear a mask and stay safe,” said Manpreet.
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