Tokyo Olympics 2020: India hockey captains Manpreet Singh, Rani Rampal draw podium finish hopes from past learnings
With exactly a year to go for the Tokyo Games both India men's and women's hockey team captains recalled their experience at the Olympics.
Neither of them has particularly good Olympic memories to share, but men's hockey skipper Manpreet Singh and his women's counterpart Rani Rampal feel that their teams have learnt enough lessons to ensure that next year's Tokyo Games become a historic success story.
The past year has been quite productive for the Manpreet-led men's team which managed to maintain its consistency and qualify for the Olympics while also notching up good results in its maiden FIH Hockey Pro League campaign with wins against Netherlands, world champions Belgium and Australia.
"Looking at the way our squad has been performing in the last year, we certainly have a good chance to win a medal at the Olympics...we have enough time to evolve as a team as well," Manpreet was quoted as saying by Hockey India in a release.
"We just have to keep concentrating on carrying out the processes well and the results will take care of itself," he added.
Like the men, the year gone by has been a fruitful one for the women as well, which saw them produce some outstanding performances across tournaments.
They won the FIH Women's Series Finals Hiroshima 2019, the Olympic Test Event in Japan, and the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha, along with victories in their tours of Spain, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and England.
"We have competed against top teams in the recent past and we have shown that our team has the capability of winning a medal and making our country proud at the Olympics," Rani said.
"Our team has been getting better with each tournament we have played and we will definitely improve our game even further in the next one year," she added.
With exactly a year to go for the Tokyo Games both captains recalled their experience at the Olympics.
Manpreet, who made his debut at the Olympics in 2012, said although the team ended last the London Games will hold a special place in his heart.
"I have been part of two Olympic Games so far, so I have gotten used to the big stage. However, there's always going to be a touch of nervousness floating around among the players as we start the one-year countdown," he said.
"The 2012 Olympic Games was certainly a disastrous campaign for us, but it will be special for me since it was my first Olympics.
"We went to the 2016 Olympic Games with a much better side and put up a better performance, but we didn't achieve our desired result there. We are certainly looking to up the ante in Tokyo," the 28-year-old added.
Speaking about her participation at the Rio Olympics – where the Indian team ended last in Group B, managing just one draw – Rani said the experience will help her make better decisions in Tokyo.
"It was great to be a part of the Olympics in Rio. We made history by qualifying for the tournament after 36 years.
"Even though we didn't register the best of results, I have certainly learned a lot by playing the Olympic Games matches in 2016," said Rani.
"I am sure all the players, who played in the 2016 Olympics, will make much better decisions on the pitch at the Tokyo Olympics, based on their experience in Rio,"
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Tokyo-bound Indian men, women’s hockey teams to resume camps at SAI Bengaluru after Karnataka gives green signal
The players and support staff, who will arrive in Bengaluru from various parts of the country and abroad, will undergo a two-week quarantine inside the campus before resuming training.
Coronavirus Outbreak: India men's hockey captain Manpreet Singh, four other players test positive for COVID-19
Besides Manpreet, defender Surender Kumar, Jaskaran Singh and drag-flicker Varun Kumar have also tested positive for the deadly virus.
How to switch off and switch on during a match? What do goalkeepers think during a penalty corner? How to master shoot-outs? India's ace custodian PR Sreejesh answers all these and more in the latest edition of Firstpost Masterclass.