Hockey

Indian hockey teams set for Olympic Test event challenge

Rani believes that facing Australia before they take part in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers later this year will help her side in preparing well for the bigger challenges ahead

Rani believes that facing Australia before they take part in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers later this year will help her side in preparing well for the bigger challenges ahead  

Captains Harmanpreet Singh and Rani Rampal remain confident

Brimming with confidence ahead of the Olympic Test event here, the Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal and her male counterpart Harmanpreet Singh said their respective teams are capable of beating any side in the world and will not be intimidated by higher-ranked opponents.

The Olympic Test Event starts here on Saturday and both the Indian teams will be in action. They are preparing for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers to be held in November and the winners will secure their place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The World No. 5 men’s team is top-ranked at the Olympic Test Event and will be up against World No. 8 New Zealand, World No. 12 Malaysia and World No. 16 Japan. The team, being led by Harmanpreet, is without a few experienced players who have been rested, and will bank on the likes of the captain and his deputy Mandeep Singh for inspiration.

“We have a great opportunity to test younger players. Malaysia, Japan and New Zealand are good teams and we are now adjusting well to our chief coach’s ideas,” Harmanpreet said. “It will be a good test for us but we are well-prepared. It is a huge responsibility to have been given the captaincy,” added the 23-year-old.

Tough campaign

The World No. 10 women’s team will endure a comparatively tougher campaign as it faces World No. 2 Australia, World No. 11 China and World No. 14 Japan.

Rani believes playing a strong team before taking part in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers later this year will help her side. “We have a great challenge in front of us at the Olympic Test Event, but we are pretty confident of doing well. It will be a tough tournament, but we know we can beat any team in the world,” she said.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 4:12:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/indian-hockey-teams-set-for-olympic-test-event-challenge/article29094661.ece

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