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Will make India proud in Tokyo: Hockey captains Manpreet Singh and Rani Rampaul
New Delhi, July 23, 2020
Captain and ace midfielder Manpreet Singh has exuded confidence that the Indian men's hockey team will put up a podium finishing show at the Tokyo Olympic next year.
Women’s team skipper Rani Rampaul was also very optimistic of her squad making the country proud at the Games.
With exactly one year to go for the Olympic Games to begin in Tokyo on 23 July 2021, there's an air of excitement and determination among the players.
Both the teams have put up commendable performances against top teams in the recent past and have registered victories at their respective FIH Series Finals and the FIH Olympic Qualifiers last year.
Manpreet was of the view that the Indian team has been getting better with each Olympics. "It's certainly exciting that in exactly one year's time, we will be in Tokyo with the best of the athletes from around the world.
He was of the view that his side has a good chance to win a medal at the Olympics next year. "Looking at the way our squad has been performing in the last year, we certainly have a good chance to win a medal at the Olympics. Everyone is clear about their roles in the side and we have enough time to evolve as a team as well," he said.
“We are definitely on track for achieving our desired result in the upcoming Olympics. We just have to keep concentrating on carrying out the processes well and the results will take care of itself," he said.
The Tokyo Games will be Manpreet’s third Olympics. Talking about his experiences, he said, “I have been part of two Olympic Games so far, so I have gotten used to the big stage. The 2012 Olympic Games was certainly a disastrous campaign for us, but it will be special for me since it was my first Olympics. We went to the 2016 Olympic Games with a much better side and put up a better performance, but we didn't achieve our desired result there," the mid-fielder said.
“We are certainly looking to up the ante in Tokyo,” he said but admitted that there’s always going to be a touch of nervousness floating around among the players as they start the one-year countdown.
Women’s team leader Rani Rampaul was equally hopeful that her side will make the country proud at the Games.
"We have competed against top teams in the recent past and we have shown that our team has the capability of winning a medal and making our country proud at the Olympics.
“We have a good group of experienced players, who are guiding the junior players very well. Our team has been getting better with each tournament we have played and we will definitely improve our game even further in the next one year," the striker said.
Talking about the Rio Olympics, Rani said that the experience will help her make better decisions at the Tokyo Olympics.
"It was great to be a part of the Olympics in Rio. We made history by qualifying for the tournament after 36 years. It was a great feeling to be playing at the biggest of stages.
"Even though we didn't register the best of results, I have certainly learned a lot by playing in Rio. I am sure all the players, who played in the 2016 Olympics, will make much better decisions on the pitch at the Tokyo Olympics, based on their experience in Rio," Rani added.