India womens hockey team captain, Rani Rampal has stated that a good show against Argentina in their upcoming series will boost her side’s performance in the run up to the Tokyo Olympics. The Indian team will hit the restart button and kick start it’s Olympic preparations with the tour of Argentina. The tour starting next week is the first after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the calendar.
“If we play to our potential against Argentina, then we will attain (gain) a lot of confidence for the all-important Olympics, where we are aiming nothing short of a medal,” Rani Rampal was quoted as saying in a Hockey India media release. “Hopefully, we can make history in Tokyo and make our country proud. We are going to give our absolute best in every match we play this year,” she added.
The Indian team will compete against the hosts Argentina in 8 matches. The tour will begin on 17 January and is scheduled to end on 31 January. “We are very excited to make our return to the international circuit. The year 2020 was really tough for us, however, we continued to practice our skills at the national coaching camp,” she said.
The skipper is excited to see how her team reacts to match situations after a long break. “All the players in the team are feeling very confident about their games and it will be interesting to see how each one of them performs in a match situation after staying away from the international circuit for almost one year,” she explained.
Hockey India in talks with different nations to organise a tour for the men’s team
While the Indian womens hockey team is gearing up for their series against Argentina, Hockey India is in talks with different nations to also organise a tour for the mens team. The mens side played their last international match against Australia on 22 February 2020 at the FIH Hockey Pro League.
Mens captain Manpreet Singh has said that his team is very excited to get some match-practice before the Tokyo Games. “We are very excited about getting back into the international circuit. We are really looking forward to playing against an international team before the Olympics,” he said.
“A few matches against a good team will help us prepare for the Olympics. This year is very important for us. We have practiced very hard in the last few months and have raised our game to a level that is close to which we usually operate in international games. If we play to our potential at the Olympics in July, then we will surely bring glory to our country. We have to go into the Olympics with a mindset of clinching a medal,” he added.
The Indian junior mens and womens teams have also not played a match since 2019 and 2020 respectively. “We are really looking forward to the FIH Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup 2021 and the AHF Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2021, which will be held in India and Bangladesh respectively,” said junior mens team defender Sanjay.
Junior womens team defender Ishika Chaudhary expressed that the AHF Womens Junior Asia Cup is the most immediate goal for her side right now. “We have been working towards the AHF Women’s Junior Asia Cup since we returned to the national camp. It’s been great to target a tournament and keep getting better at our game every day,” she said. “The AHF Women’s Junior Asia Cup is very important for us since it will give us a chance to book a place in the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup,” the 20-year old added.