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Paris Games 2024 | Keep your faith in us, we will not disappoint you: Hockey skipper Harmanpreet Singh

Eight-time champions India had ended their 41-year-old medal drought in Tokyo by winning a bronze medal.
Last Updated : 05 July 2024, 13:17 IST

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New Delhi: Skipper Harmanpreet Singh understands that Indian men's hockey team will enter the Paris Games with huge expectations and promised to return from the French Capital with grand success which they would celebrate with passionate fans, just like the triumphant cricket team.

Eight-time champions India had ended their 41-year-old medal drought in Tokyo by winning a bronze medal.

"When we won a medal in Tokyo, it was like a tonic for hockey in India. This time our responsibility has increased and everyone knows how much love and respect we have received after that medal," Harmanpreet told PTI Bhasha.

"I will only say that you (countrymen) have been with us since the first day and we have also tried to give our best. This time too, we will give our 100 per cent from first to last match. Keep your faith in us, we will not disappoint you." Just like any other Indian, Harmanpreet was brimming with pride after India ended their 17-year-old wait for another T20 World Cup title.

The Indian cricket team was accorded an unprecedented welcome on its return to the country. A grand victory parade was organised followed by a felicitation ceremony at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday.

And now Harmanpreet is looking to give the countrymen a similar reason for celebration after their return from Paris.

"As a player there is nothing bigger than representing your country in a big tournament like World Cup and winning the trophy. The whole country is dancing with the cricketers. It is a matter of greater pride that you have brought joy on everyone's face," he said.

"We also want to live these moments with the countrymen by winning the gold in Paris. There cannot be a matter of greater pride for me than this," added Harmanpreet, who is gearing up for his third Olympics appearance.

The hockey team skipper, who has 188 goals from 219 matches for India, is a big admirer of Rohit Sharma.

"After losing the ODI World Cup final last year, he (Rohit) won the T20 World Cup which is a big thing. Rohit also had a long journey and has seen many ups and downs. The whole country is proud of him," he said.

Harmanpreet, who will captain India for the first time in Olympics, is always calm and composed on the field -- attributes that are necessary for a leader.

"As a captain, there is a lot of responsibility and only if you remain calm on the field, will you be able to help others. I also try to stay cool during matches and practice sessions and motivate the players to give their best," he said.

India did not have the best of outings in the FIH Pro League and Harmanpreet emphasised on the areas the team need to work upon before the Paris Games.

"In the Pro League our focus was on analysing our opponents and not disclosing everything. All the drag-flickers got a chance. It was a good performance but we could have done better," he said.

"We have the best rusher and goalkeeper for PC defence but still drag-flick is getting difficult by the day. We have worked hard on this, we are analysing our rivals, who is their first rusher, what is their technique and how we can bring in variation."

India have been placed in a tough pool in the Olympics, along side Australia, Belgium, Argentina, New Zealand and Ireland but Harmanpreet is not feeling the pressure.

"Whatever be the pool in Olympics, every team and every match is important. The first match is against New Zealand and right now the focus will be on them. We play to our strength."

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Published 05 July 2024, 13:17 IST

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