We are on our toes to qualify for Olympics: Manpreet

We are on our toes to qualify for Olympics: Manpreet

Pictorial representation. Photo credit: AFP

The Indian men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh on Wednesday said that the eight-time champions are focused on qualifying for next year's Tokyo Olympics with just a year left for the start of the showpiece event.

The final countdown for Tokyo Games started on Wednesday with exactly 12 months remaining for the quadrennial event to start. The 2020 Olympics will be be held from July 24 to August 9 next year with the preliminary rounds of hockey for both men and women scheduled to start on July 25.

"We have a countdown chart as well and we frequently keep on reminding ourselves about how many days are left for the qualifying and how many days before the first hockey match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We are on our toes to qualify," Manpreet said.

The skipper said the constant reminder also provides a boost to players to improve upon their individual games and ensure they are doing their best for the nation's cause.

"It's not just us players but the coaching staff too remind us about how many days are left for 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the goals we need to achieve ahead of this milestone event," Manpreet said.

"We have set short goals to work on our grey areas, besides, which team we intend to play against at the upcoming tournaments such as Olympic Test event, Belgium Tour and what implications this would have on the Qualifying event in November. We have mapped out every detail to ensure we do better."

Manpreet said remaining injury-free is another aspect which the players need to take care of in the run-up to the Olympics.

Meanwhile, the Indian women's team skipper Rani Rampal said they are determined to book their Tokyo tickets to make the world realise that qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics was not a fluke.

"We have all made personal sacrifices to ensure the team is put ahead of everything else and we are working towards one goal which is to qualify for the Olympics," Rani said.

"It's very important for us to reinstate that qualifying for Rio Olympics was not a one-off incident and that hockey fans can expect the women's team to create good results at major competitions."

Rani also lauded the recent success of country's track and field athletes Hima Das and Dutee Chand, saying their achievements are a testament to the fact that Indian women are rising at the world level.

Competing in 200m and 400m races, Hima won five gold medals inside 20 days in various meets across Poland and Czech Republic, while Dutee Chand bagged a historic gold at the 100m sprint at World University Games in Napoli, Italy recently.

"The recent performances of Hima Das and Dutee Chand proves that Indian women are rising to the occasion and are working towards making India a dominant contingent at the world level," she said.

"Their performances inspires us too. It's important to have such positive results in the build up to our Olympic qualification event." 

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