Continuing our series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, USA (FIH World Ranking: 13) captain Kathleen Sharkey looks ahead to her team’s all-important two-match clash with India (WR:9), with a place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the line. The crucial matches will take place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India on 1/2 November 2019, with timings to be confirmed in the coming weeks. A transcription of the interview can be found below.
The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be taking place very soon. How is your team preparing for these hugely important matches?
Kathleen Sharkey: We have been training hard these last couple of weeks, focussing on our game and how we want to play those Olympic qualifying matches. We have been working on our tactics and refining those technical skills to make sure we put forward our best selves in those games.
What can we expect to see from your team in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?
Kathleen Sharkey: I think the stakes of both games is really high. It is going to be played with a lot of intensity from both teams so we should just focus on the controllables, which is our work rate and our energy and making sure we never give up.
What are your thoughts about your opponent in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers and how is your squad feeling about these matches?
Kathleen Sharkey: India is a great opponent and we have a lot of respect for them. We played them last summer [in the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup 2018], and it was a draw and we know it will be a tough game against them this autumn. But we are just focussing on ourselves and if we prepare ourselves in every way possible then that will give us the best chance of winning.
Finally, what would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?
Kathleen Sharkey: It would mean everything for us. It is the ultimate goal for this team and all the individuals to make sure the USA is represented in those Olympic Games so we will be really motivated every day in our training and we will do whatever it takes to come out on top.
Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.
For complete information about the men’s and women’s draw for the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, .
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