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Harmanpreet to lead at Tokyo Olympics hockey test event

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 25, 2019 19:34 IST
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Harmanpreet Singh

IMAGES: Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh will lead an 18-man squad for the Olympics hockey test tournament from August 17 to 21. Photograph: Hockey India/Twitter

Captain Manpreet Singh and goalkeeper P R Sreejesh are among a few senior India players rested for next month's Olympic hockey test event in Tokyo.

Besides Manpreet and Sreejesh, defender Surender Kumar was also rested. 


Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh will lead the 18-member men's squad for the August 17 to 21 tournament in Manpreet's absence, while forward Mandeep Singh will be his deputy.

Rookies Ashis Topno and Shamsher Singh will make their debut in the national team, while experienced forward S V Sunil also makes comeback after recovering from a knee injury. He was sidelined from the national team for nine months.

Ace drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, who returned to the side after last year's Asian Games for the tour of Australia in May, Birendra Lakra and Akashdeep Singh are the other notable omissions.

In Sreejesh's absence, Krishan Bahadur Pathak and young Suraj Karkera will don goalkeeping duties.

India chief coach Graham Reid said the decision to rest some senior players was taken keeping in mind the Olympic Qualifiers in November.

"We are resting some senior players, including Manpreet Singh, some of whom have played a very rigorous last 12 months of hockey. We will give them a chance to shake off any niggling injuries and get fresh for the next three months of preparation for the November qualifying matches," the Australian said.

He said the Olympic test event provides him a chance to try out some promising players.

"With no world ranking points at risk, the Tokyo test event gives us an ideal opportunity to not only get a first-hand look at how Tokyo is shaping up for next year's Olympics but also see some new players. We want to give them chance and see how they fare at the international stage," Reid said.

The squad: Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Suraj Karkera, Gurinder Singh, Harmanpreet Singh (Captain), Kothajit Singh Khadangbam, Hardik Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Jaskaran Singh, Mandeep Singh (vice-captain), Gursahibjit Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Jarmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Ashis Topno, SV Sunil, Gurjant Singh, Shamsher Singh.

'India will perform better at Tokyo Olympics'

Hima Das

IMAGE: Star sprinter Hima Das won five successive gold medals in the last three weeks in Europe. Photograph: Stephen Pond/Getty Images

India will send a good contingent for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Union minister Kiren Rijiju said on Thursday, expressing confidence that the country's performance at the mega-event will be better.

During Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, he also said Indian athletes have been performing competitively at the international level in many disciplines.

 "A good number" of contingent would be sent for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, in 2020, the Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports said.

He was responding to a supplementary question on the road map for the Olympics.

"We will definitely perform better at Olympics," the minister said, adding that a task force set up after the previous Olympics has come out with very effective suggestions.

In the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, India won only two medals.

Noting that promotion of sports is the primary responsibility of state governments, Rijiju said the Centre supplements efforts of the state government concerned for bridging gaps in sports infrastructure.

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IPL 2020

IPL 2020