There was a time when hockey used to be the only medal hope for India in the Olympics. In the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next year, Indian men’s and women’s hockey team will start their campaign against tough opponents of world hockey such as New Zealand and the Netherlands respectively on 25 July, it was disclosed by the world body (FIH) on Tuesday.
Olympics, a battleground for athletes
Tokyo Olympics in 2020 is heading to be another battleground for the world athletes in different disciplines. The biggest global sports festival is a unique platform for the players and athletes to prove their real talent and emerge as heroes worldwide and become the role model as well as the cynosure of all eyes in a short period. But winning a medal in Olympics is not a cup of tea, athletes have to punch above their weight for achieving this goal.
Indian athletes gear up
Indian athletes are gearing up to face the stiff challenge from the toughest opponents of the world. Individual athletes have done well in the last couple of Olympics. Hockey, the national game of India has lost its significance due its not up to the mark performance in recent years. At present, Indian men’s and women’s hockey team have lit a glimpse of hope under the guidance of two foreign coaches.
Responsibility on foreign coaches
Graham Reid and Sjoerd Marijne are coaching the Indian men’s and women’s team respectively. The Australian and the Netherlands duos have the responsibility to lift the performance of men’s and women’s hockey teams to stand them on the podium. Winning medal in Olympics would be like climbing on the ‘Mount Everest’ for both the factions.
Winner of eight gold medals
Winner of eight-time gold medals, the Indian men’s hockey team has been eluded from the medals in hockey since 1980. Although in the Moscow Olympics superpowers of hockey boycotted the game in support of the USA. Will blue stick repeat the 1964 Tokyo Olympics? Where India bagged the gold medal in its kitty and trounced the arch-rival Pakistan in the grand finale.
Team India on fifth spot
Team India is ranked fifth in the world at the moment, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after having defeated Russia 11-3 on aggregate in the Olympic qualifiers held in Bhubaneswar recently. After crossing the first hurdle, the real test of the players’ skill, stamina, strength, presence of mind and availing the goal-scoring opportunities will be seen in Tokyo Olympics, where all the teams are ready to produce their best possible performance. Graham Reid, the coach of the men’s team, has the chance to prepare team India super fit to lock horns against the best side of the world.
Women’s team on ninth position
Meanwhile, the women’s team ranked ninth in the world had qualified for the Tokyo Games after beating the United States 6-5 on aggregate in the Olympic qualifiers held in Bhubaneswar recently. India has been clubbed in Group A, where they will take on Germany on 27 July, before meeting Great Britain (29 July), Ireland (31 July) and South Africa (1 August). The gold medal matches for men’s and women’s will be held on 6 and 7 August respectively.
Fitness – key to success
Fitness will be key to succeed as the Indian women’s hockey team eyes consistency in the run-up to next year’s Tokyo Olympics, chief coach of women’s Sjoerd Marijne said on Saturday. Indian women’s team have got the chance to get much-needed practice and exposure with the forthcoming tournaments. India will commence its tour from New Zealand starting in January 2020.
We have chartered out our plans for the next seven months and we have a clear vision of what we need to improve on and the level we seek to achieve ahead of the Olympics,” Marijne said.
Improvement in fitness
Under the captaincy of Manpreet Singh and coach Grahame Reid team, men’s team at least on paper is looking to upset big teams in 2020 Olympics. Of late, India performed brilliantly in the European tour. The team has improved its fitness level, which is essential in modern hockey. Youngsters have fire in the belly to win medals for the team.
Indian players have to display a winning performance on the ground apart from this conversion of penalty corners and utilising the chances and changing them into goals is essential if India wants to stand on the podium. Hockey fans of India are eager to see yellow metal around the neck of the Indian players in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.