Bengaluru, Sep 9 : The Indian Men's Hockey Team will be up against World No 22 Russia, while the women's team will face World No 13 US in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers for a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The draw which involved 14 teams from men and 14 women was held at the in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday.
The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will each feature two nations playing two back-to-back matches in men's and women's with nations drawn to play each other based on their rankings at the end of the last 2018-2019 Continental Championship, namely the Oceania Cup on September 8.
Indian men had registered a sensational 10-0 win against Russia when they last played against them during the FIH Series Final in Bhubaneswar earlier this year while Russian team won 12-1 against Uzbekistan, 3-2 against Poland and lost a close 1-2 match against South Africa in the knockout stage.
The host team India will be riding on confidence following a good show at the Olympic Test event in Tokyo where a young squad led by defender and drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh remained unbeaten against Malaysia (6-0), Japan (6-3) and beat New Zealand (5-0) in the Final to win the tournament.
“The team is shaping up well under Chief Coach Graham Reid. He brings a lot of positivity to the core group and believes in aggressive, attacking hockey and we have been focused on our team goal of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” added Manpreet Singh on the sidelines of the ongoing National Coaching Camp in SAI, Bengaluru.
Indian women's team played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw against the US last year to qualify for the knockout stages of the Women's World Cup in London.
The five-match series during India's tour of England in September will serve as the perfect series for the team to prepare for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers.
"We knew the areas we had to work on to be in the best form to play two back-to-back matches and we are working towards winning them and qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020," stated women team captain Rani Rampal. (UNI)