Bengaluru, Jun 18 (UNI) Hockey India on Friday announced the men’s hockey squad for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.
The 16-member squad has as many as eleven Olympic debutants, which also features seasoned performers like PR Sreejesh and Manpreet Singh.
Continuing with their third stint goalkeeper Sreejesh and midfielder Manpreet will bring in critical experience to the team alongside other Olympic veterans Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, and Surender Kumar.
After missing the previous Olympics in 2016 due to a major knee injury, Birendra Lakra gets an opportunity to be part of the squad for Tokyo 2020.
Additionally, joining the team are Amit Rohidas, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit and debutant forwards, Shamsher Singh, Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
Speaking on the team selection, Chief Coach Graham Reid said, ‘It has not been an easy process to make the final selection of 16 players as there is a lot of quality and ambition in this group of players. The performance levels of all the athletes are at an optimum level and more importantly they work well together.
They know what it means to represent the country at the Olympics. We are now focussed on training with the same intensity and our goal is to put forward our best performance as a collective unit in Tokyo.’
The Indian men’s hockey team has had a rich history in the Olympics. The side has won a whopping 11 Olympic medals which includes 8 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals.
However, it has been 41 years since the Indian team last won an Olympic medal and therefore the current side will be aiming to to change the course of history in Tokyo.
HI president Gyanendro Ningombam wished the team success.
“The recent performance against Olympic champions Argentina at the FIH Pro League shows they are headed in the right direction. I wish them all the best,” he said.
The current team has won the 2016 & 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, 2017 Asia Cup Gold and 2019 World Series as well over the last few years.
The Indian men’s team are grouped in Pool A along with reigning Olympic Champions Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and hosts Japan. The tournament takes place from 23rd July to 5th August in Tokyo.
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh
Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra
Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit
Forwards: Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh.