Rediff.com  » Sports » Asian Games diary: Indian men's hockey team on way to defend title

Asian Games diary: Indian men's hockey team on way to defend title

August 14, 2018 20:36 IST

Indian hockey team captain PR Sreejesh (2nd from right) Rupinder Pal Singh (right), Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalacharya (2nd from left) and Harmanpreet Singh pose for a group photo before leaving for the Asian Games, in New Delhi on Monday

IMAGE: Indian hockey team captain PR Sreejesh (2nd from right) Rupinder Pal Singh (right), Sunil Sowmarpet Vitalacharya (2nd from left) and Harmanpreet Singh pose for a group photo before leaving for the Asian Games, in New Delhi on Monday. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo

Eyeing qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Indian men and women's hockey teams left for the 18th Asian Games with hopes of winning gold.

While the 18-member women's team will begin its campaign against hosts Indonesia in a Pool B clash on August 19, the men will begin their title defence against Indonesia a day later.

 

Speaking about improving on their bronze medal at the last Asiad,  women's team captain Rani said, "We are going into the Asian Games after a strong performance in the FIH Women's World Cup 2018 which has given us a lot of confidence.

"Though we were disappointed that we did not make the semi-final, winning a gold in the Asian Games will help fade the bitter memories of the World Cup."

The women's team will face Korea, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia in Pool B and will have to finish in the top two to make the semi-finals.

Meanwhile the men's team, grouped with Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong will be aiming to defend its title.

"We had good lead-up to the Asian Games with high intensity training camp in Bengaluru. We also did well in the practice matches against Bangladesh, Korea and New Zealand where we wanted to implement certain changes in goal-scoring positions within the striking circle because that was one of the areas we fell behind in the FIH Champions Trophy 2018.

"We have also worked a lot on our penalty conversion, defending and shootouts. Now we just need to execute perfectly in every single match and return home with the gold," stated goalkeeper-captain PR Sreejesh.

Asked who would be India's toughest opponent this time around, Sreejesh said, "No team can be taken lightly because every single team would come with the mindset of winning the tournament and get direct qualification for Tokyo Olympics.

"However, I feel that with the potential we have in the current team we will be fighting to better our own performance and ensure we play like a champion squad."

Shooters check into Athletes Village

Members of the Indian contingent on Tuesday began arriving at the Athletes Village in Palembang for the Asian Games, with the shooters being the first to check in.

Deputy Chef de Mission Balbir Singh Kushwaha said that facilities at the Games Village were good.

"31 members of the shooting team (out of 36) arrived here today. The Rowing squad will be coming tomorrow while the tennis players should be trickling in from August 16 onwards," Kushwaha told PTI on Tuesday.

"The facilities are good. Finishing touches are being given to some of the training venues. The Games Village and main Games complex is very close to each other. But the accommodation is okay and basic," he added.

11 disciplines are being held in Palembang out of the total 40. India is competing in shooting, tennis, rowing, roller sports, soft tennis, sepaktakraw and bowling.

HC junks PIL against BJP MP as head of Indian contingent at Asian Games

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL against the appointment of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh as the Chef de Mission (CDM) of the Indian contingent for the upcoming 18th Asian Games to be held in the twin cities of Jakarta and Palembang from August 19 to September 2.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao said the Centre and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have already taken a decision regarding Singh's appointment.

The appointment of the BJP MP, also the president of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), was opposed by Anil Chamadia who has said that Singh is one of the accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case and should not be the flag bearer of the Indian contingent at the Games.

The court after hearing the petitioner's lawyers said "bring a better case and we will consider" and dismissed the plea.

Singh was officially appointed as the CDM of the Indian contingent on July 20.

Along with him, four Deputy Chef de Missions have also been appointed to lead the Indian contingent's participation in the 2018 edition of the Asian Games.

The four Deputy Chef de Missions are Raj Kumar Sacheti, Col Satyavrat Sheoran, Balbir Singh Kushwaha and Dev Kumar Singh.

© Copyright 2019 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT