We are working to be in best shape possible for Paris: India men’s hockey captain Harmanpreet

The Indian men’s hockey team has identified areas that “needed attention” following its whitewash by Australia in the five-Test series and is ready for the tough European leg of the Pro League, said skipper Harmanpreet Singh on Sunday.

Last month, India, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists, lost all its matches to the Kookaburras, raising doubts about its preparations for the Paris Games later this year.

But drag-flicker Harmanpreet said the squad has done a lot of high-intensity training and the confidence in the side continues to grow.

“We are in the last stages of an intense training block right now. The team has worked on the areas we felt needed attention after the tour of Australia,” said Harmanpreet in a Hockey India release.

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“Soon, we will head to Europe to play some essential matches in the Pro League 2023/24 to test ourselves against some tough opponents like Argentina, Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain.

“The chemistry in the squad continues to grow and with only 75 days left for the Paris Olympics we are working to be in the best shape possible,” he added.

India will begin its Olympic campaign against New Zealand on July 27. The other teams in Pool B are Belgium, Australia, Argentina, and Ireland.

Pool A comprises the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, South Africa, and hosts France.

India vice-captain Hardik Singh said the experience of stalwarts like goalkeeping stalwart PR Sreejesh and former captain Manpreet Singh has come in handy while preparing youngsters for the Summer Games.

“The team is leaving no stone unturned in our endeavour to change the colour of our previous medal and clinch gold at the Olympics this time. We have players like PR Sreejesh and Manpreet Singh who could be playing their fourth Olympics along with quite a few players who could be playing their third Olympics, including our captain.

“Their experience has been instrumental in moulding some of the younger players we have in the squad right now. Only 75 days remain for the Paris Olympics and we cannot wait to begin our Olympic journey,” added Hardik.

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