NEW DELHI, Sept 19: The Indian men’s hockey team will look to extend its impressive run at the Asian Games in Hangzhou beginning on September 23.
India will begin their campaign against Uzbekistan on September 24. India are placed in Pool A, alongside Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Uzbekistan. Pool B consists of Korea, Malaysia, China, Oman, Thailand, and Indonesia.
The top two teams from each Pool will qualify for the semifinals.
Harmanpreet Singh will lead the team once again, with Hardik serving as his deputy.
“The team has been rigorously preparing for the Asian Games and we performed well at the recently concluded Asian Champions Trophy Chennai, so the goal is to maintain that level of performance,” said Harmanpreet before the Indian team left for Hangzhou.
“We have some tough opponents in our Pool, but we are confident in our preparation and hope to finish on the podium.”
The team includes goalkeepers P.R. Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak. Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, and Sanjay are the defenders selected for the Asian Games.
The midfield will be anchored by Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sumit, and Shamsher Singh, while the attack will be led by Abhishek, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
“We have had some tough practice sessions in the lead-up to the tournament and everyone in camp is focused, working towards the same goal,” vice-captain Hardik said.
“We are in the best possible mental and physical shape to travel to Hangzhou, and we are looking forward to the tough competition in our group. The goal is to continue performing as well as we have in recent months and return from China with a medal.”
India will face Singapore, Japan and Pakistan on September 26, 28 and 30 respectively. They will play their last group stage match against Bangladesh on October 2. (PTI)