The 16-member Indian men’s hockey squad for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics has been announced by Hockey India, with 10 debutants making it to the final list along with veterans Mandeep Singh, PR Sreejesh and Amit Rohidas. The Men in Blue will begin its campaign against New Zealand on July 24.
Hockey India has today announced the much anticipated 16-member men’s hockey team to represent the country at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. With as many as eleven Olympic debutants in the squad, the team is fuelled with a fresh approach basis intense training and preparation at the ongoing national camp being held at SAI Centre Bengaluru.
Continuing with their third stint goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and midfielder Manpreet Singh 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 a befitting 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.”
Congratulating the selected squad, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, “The Indian Men’s Hockey Team has a rich legacy of Olympic performances to follow, and I feel this time, more than ever the team is in a position to revisit its glory days to emerge as a top medal contender. 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.”
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 Indian Men’s Hockey Team is very determined to change the course of history in Tokyo. 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.
As a part of Olympics preparations, the men’s team travelled to Europe and Argentina as part of their preparations. Having put up a good show against teams like Germany, Great Britain and reigning Olympic Champions Argentina on the tours, the World No.4 side is pumped up for the Tokyo Olympics. The Indian team also got a chance to return to high-level competition like FIH Pro League, where they defeated Argentina in both the matches and set the tone for the Olympics.
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.
COMPLETE LIST OF SELECTED PLAYERS:
P R SREEJESH
RUPINDER PAL SINGH
LALIT KUMAR UPADHYAY