Tokyo (Japan), Aug 14: Ahead of the Olympic test event, the Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal and her male counterpart Harmanpreet Singh have said that their teams are ready to take up the challenges against any team in the world.
The Olympic Test event starts from Saturday here at the Oi Hockey Stadium where both Indian Men's and Women's hockey teams will be in action. Both the teams are to play in the Olympic Test Event as part of their preparations for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, which are to be held in November 2019. The winners of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers will secure their place in the highly-anticipated Tokyo Olympics 2020.
The World No 5 Indian Men’s team is top-ranked team at the Olympic Test Event and will be up against World No 8 New Zealand, World No 12 Malaysia and World No 16 Japan.
The side being led by Defender and Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh will be looking to register good performances against their opponents and with a few experienced players who have been rested for the tournament, the team will bank on the likes of the Captain himself and Vice-Captain Mandeep Singh. “We have a great opportunity to test a younger bunch of players in the matches against Malaysia, Japan and New Zealand. They are good teams to play against and we are now adjusting well to our Chief Coach’s ideas,'' stated 23-year-old Harmanpreet Singh looking ahead to the tournament.
''It will be a good test for us but we are well-prepared and will go into every match with the intent to win it. It is a huge responsibility to have been given the Captaincy, and I am looking forward to stepping up and delivering for the team,” she added. The World No 10 Indian Women’s team will have a comparatively tougher campaign at the Olympic Test Event as they face World No 2 Australia, World No 11 China and World No. 14 Japan.
The biggest competitor for the side will be the highest-ranked Australian team who they have not faced since their 0-1 loss in the semi-final of the Commonwealth Games 2018. However, Captain Rani believes that facing a big team before they take part in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers later this year will help the team in preparing well for the bigger challenges ahead.
“We have a great challenge in front of us at the Olympic Test Event, but we are pretty confident of doing well. We face Australia, China and Japan, and it will be a tough tournament, but we know we can beat any team in the world, ‘said Rani ahead of their first match against hosts Japan on Saturday.
''We have prepared well together as a unit, and the upcoming tournament will also help us with exposure against good teams. The journey to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 starts from here, and we will give our everything to win the tournament, and prepare to qualify for the Olympics,” she added. (UNI)