100 days for Tokyo: Indian Captains Manpreet, Rani confident of podium finish -
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100 days for Tokyo: Indian Captains Manpreet, Rani confident of podium finish

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Commemorating the 100-day Olympic countdown, Hockey India launched Hockey Te Charcha – a podcast series featuring icons of Indian hockey 

Manpreet Singh. 

Khel Today Bureau

Bengaluru: Following the Indian Men’s and Women’s Hockey Teams’ spirited displays since the resumption of the international calendar, there is plenty of hope that both sides can finish on the podium during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Even though the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out much of last year’s action, the Indian Men’s and Women’s Hockey Teams have been training hard at National Camps at the SAI Centre, Bengaluru. The players have mentioned how they tried to improve their fitness and technique even while being quarantined indoors for long periods.

Rani 

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team have been steadily improving with every tournament. Rani and Co had secured qualification for the Tokyo Olympics back in 2019. For the first time in history, the Indian Women’s Team will be playing in back-to-back Olympic events. While Rio Olympics 2016 was a steep learning curve, the current outfit under Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne are no pushovers.
Despite not getting a win under their belt, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team put in a string of spirited displays against World No 2 Argentina and heavyweights Germany earlier this year. Their opponents in Group A of the Tokyo Olympics include Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands and South Africa.

“I am happy with the fight our team showed against Argentina and Germany earlier this year,” Rani said. “Of course, we’re disappointed to have not registered a win but we have showed that we could hold our own against higher-ranked opponents. Since coming back from Germany, we have been working hard on our finishing and our technique. I feel we have come a long way from a tactical standpoint. I’m confident that once we convert these good performances into results, we will be in the mix for an Olympic medal too.”

On current form, the sky is the limit for Manpreet’s side. They have a good mix of youth and experience in their ranks, and have picked up from where they left last year in the FIH Hockey Pro League. They have been in fine form during the ongoing tour of Argentina, and were unbeaten in the double-header FIH Hockey Pro League tie against the Olympic Champions over the weekend.
The tour of Europe at the start of the year also went to plan for Chief Coach Graham Reid. Under the Australian, India have a new-found solidity. World Champions Belgium, Australia and Netherlands too, got a taste of it during the FIH Pro League last year. India’s opponents in Group A in the Tokyo Olympics include hosts Japan, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

“Firstly, it was good to be back playing international hockey after a long time,” said Manpreet. “I’m very happy with the progress of the team over the last 18 months. If we continue to build on this, I am sure we can defeat any team. The team spirit is high right now and as I said before, we should use every opportunity we get before the Tokyo Olympics to fine-tune our game. The youngsters in the team have come a long way. I’m hoping this form continues and we put a much better display than what we’d managed in the Rio Olympics,” the India Men Hockey Team Captain added.

Hockey India Podcast Series ahead of the Olympics

Launched exactly 100 days ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, Hockey te Charcha is a special podcast series initiated by Hockey India — the governing body for Hockey in India — to provide the fans of hockey a unique experience to relive the glorious moments of Indian hockey by listening to the iconic players who have brought pride and honour to the nation.

This is a first-of-its-kind podcast series launched by an Indian National Sports Federation in the lead up to the Olympic Games and in its first episode, Hockey Te Charcha engaged in a freewheeling conversation with Mr Harbinder Singh. Listen to the legendary Centre Forward recollect India’s glorious campaign at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games where the Indian Men’s Field Hockey Team led by Charanjit Singh defeated arch-nemesis Pakistan 1-0 in the thrilling final. This historic feat became India’s 7th Gold Medal winning campaign at the Olympic Games.

In the podcast episode, he speaks fondly of his early days as an athlete before switching to hockey. He also recalled Major Dhyan Chand’s role as a mentor in his career.
Hockey te Charcha will be a fortnightly series featuring some of the top names in Indian Hockey, past and present in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Tune into the show on the below link: –
https://open.spotify.com/show/1qEu2p2w37BwDZ2wX3rg9G

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