With an eye on the Olympic Qualifiers later this year, the Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams on Sunday left for Tokyo to take part in the Test events, starting on August 17. The Olympic Test events are expected to provide good exposure to both the teams ahead of the Qualifiers in November. Also Read - India Hockey Star Gurjant Singh Hopes to Prove His Mettle Before Tokyo Olympics
The Indian men’s team will play against hosts Japan, New Zealand and Malaysia, while the women will be up against Australia, China and Japan. “I believe this tournament is a good opportunity for youngsters to shine as we will all be watched closely ahead of the team selection for the Olympic Qualifiers,” said men’s team skipper Harmanpreet Singh. Also Read - Gyanendro Ningombam Elected Unopposed as Hockey India President
He also said that the Test event will help the team understand the playing conditions in Tokyo, the venue of next year’s Olympics. “We are positively working towards making the Olympic Qualification. Playing at this venue will help us understand the playing conditions there and we are looking forward to a good tournament,” said the defender dragflicker. Also Read - Just The Beginning of my Career, Need to Improve on Many Aspects: India Hockey Midfielder Vivek Prasad
The women’s team captain Rani said her team’s aim in the upcoming tournament is to register an upset win over higher-ranked Australia. “We have done well against Japan and China in the past one year but the one team we are looking forward to do well against is Australia. A win against them will make a big impact for our team’s preparations for the Olympic Qualifier,” Rani said ahead of the team’s departure here.
The men’s team will play their first match against nemesis Malaysia and the women will take on hosts Japan on August 17.