khaskhabar.com : Monday, 12 July 2021 3:30 PM
Mumbai| Like every time, the Indian men’s hockey team is considered to be a strong contender for winning a medal in the Olympics. Looking at the recent performances of the team, this time it is more likely that the team will be able to prove its mettle in the Tokyo Olympics. The eight-time gold medalist Indian men’s hockey team won silver in 1960 and bronze in 1968 and 1972. India last won a gold medal in hockey at the 1980 Olympics by defeating Spain 4-3.
Since then, the Indian hockey team has not lived up to the expectations and has faced defeat and disappointment.
The expectations from the team were still there when the team had slipped in the rankings and were not getting good results in the big tournaments. After this the team also failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
However, the Indian team has improved its performance and has moved from 10th to 4th position in the world rankings. The players are quite confident for the Tokyo Olympics, despite the team’s campaign being affected due to Corona.
The Indian hockey team is gearing up for the Games’ Maha Kumbh Olympics starting July 23 and the Indian men’s team is one of the medal contenders along with Belgium, Australia, Netherlands and Germany.
For many years, the team’s target has been to reach the knockout stage but the expectations are high as the selectors have picked a very balanced team.
Experienced players like goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh and Birender Lakra are part of the team.
India are in Group A with Rio Olympic champions Argentina, world No. 1 team Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Japan, while Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Canada and South Africa are in Group B. Four teams from each group will advance to the knockout stage.
Indian team coach Graham Reid is well aware of the expectations and has expressed hope that India will end its four-decade drought.
The Indian women’s hockey team led by Rani Rampal had qualified for the Olympics by defeating America in the qualifiers. The main goal of the team will be to enter the knockout stage. However, head coach Schuard Marine said he would not be so disappointed if the team failed to reach the quarter-finals.
The Indian women’s team is in Group A along with Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa while Argentina, Australia, China, New Zealand, Spain and Japan are in other groups.
“There is a lot of expectation from the Indian team. But if you look at the reality, only Japan and South Africa are below us in the ranks,” Marinee said.
However, he expressed confidence that the team will definitely reach the quarter-finals.
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