In the latest of a series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, India (FIH World Ranking: 5) men’s captain Manpreet Singh looks ahead to his team’s crucial two-game clash against Russia (WR:22). The all-important matches will take place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar 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 will your team prepare for these hugely important matches?
Manpreet Singh: “The team is preparing well right now because last month we went to Tokyo [Olympic test event] with a young team and they played very well there and won the series. Now we are focussed on fitness, attacking hockey and when we get in the circle for opportunities, working on that and defensive structure as well.”
What can we expect to see from your team in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers?
Manpreet Singh: “We are working now on attacking hockey so when we get the opportunities, we score the goals. These are the things we are working on right now. Also we are working on our defence as we should not give [goal scoring] opportunities to any other teams. Right now, we are focussing on [both] attacking and defending.”
What are your thoughts about Russia, your opponent in the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, and how is your squad feeling about these matches?
Manpreet Singh: “Actually, we are not thinking about who we are going to play, we are focussing on the fact that we have to play two matches and we want to qualify for the Olympics. For that, the team are doing very well, focussing on fitness and doing very well in the camp, working hard every day in gym sessions, during training, everything.”
Finally, what would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?
Manpreet Singh: “It is huge, because obviously our team wants to play at the Olympics next year. That is why we want to play well in the Olympic qualifier. We want to win a medal at the Olympics.”
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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