New Delhi, August 8th, 2023: With a chance to earn a direct Paris Olympics 2024 qualification, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team will open their Hangzhou Asian Games campaign against Uzbekistan on September 24th, while the Indian Women’s Hockey Team will take on Singapore in their opening game of the prestigious competition on September 27th.
The hockey schedule was jointly announced by the Hangzhou Asian Games organising committee and Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on Tuesday, after approval from the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Indian Men’s Hockey Team is placed in Pool A along with reigning Asian Games Champions Japan, and arch-rivals Pakistan. Bangladesh, Singapore, and Uzbekistan complete Pool A. Korea, Malaysia, China, Oman, Thailand and Indonesia are the remaining nations competing at the Games and are placed in Pool B.
Speaking on the competition that lies ahead, Indian Men’s Hockey Team defender Harmanpreet Singh said that the team will not be taking any nation lightly.
“We are placed along with some strong teams in our pool, including Japan, who won the Gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. But we will treat all teams at par and will not be taking any competition lightly,” Harmanpreet Singh, who is currently leading the Indian Men’s Hockey Team at the ongoing Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023, where India have remained unbeaten so far in four games. India beat China 7-2 in their opening game and then drew 1-1 against Japan. With a 5-0 win over Malaysia and a solid 3-2 win over Korea, India are currently on top of the table.
“We are already getting a chance to compete with some of these nations at the ongoing Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023, and we will look forward to using this experience to our advantage in the future. Our coaches have always instilled in us that we need to be prepared for all our rivals. We will study all our opponents for the Hangzhou Asian Games, re-watch all videos to learn about their strengths and weaknesses and prepare our plans accordingly,” Harmanpreet added, ahead of India’s clash against neighbouring rivals Pakistan, set to take place on August 9th, Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team, which won the Silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, is placed in Pool A along with Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong China, and Singapore. Reigning Champions Japan, along with China, Thailand, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia are the other teams in the competition and are placed in Pool B.
Speaking on the Pool stage, Savita said, “We are placed along with some strong teams in our pool. But we are confident that the work that we have done over the past year at the camp and training session will help us achieve good results in the competition.”
Savita also praised the unity in the Indian camp and said that the team will have to perform at their best to ensure they can finish at the podium. “Hangzhou Asian Games is an important event, especially with a chance to earn a direct Olympic qualification. All the players are unified by the common goal to perform their best at the Games and if we can do that, then we are in with a good chance to finish at the podium, irrespective of which teams we face in the competition,” she signed off.
HOCKEY INDIA TEAM PARTNERS
Odisha (India’s Best Kept Secret) – Major Team Partner
Sports Authority of India (SAI)
About HOCKEY INDIA
HOCKEY INDIA (HI) is the governing body with exclusive mandate to direct and conduct all activities for both men and women’s hockey in India. It is recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Govt. of India as the sole body responsible towards promoting Hockey in India.
Headquartered in New Delhi, Hockey India was established on 20th May, 2009 and is affiliated to the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).
Committed to the development of Hockey in the country, Hockey India with the assistance of Sports Authority of India and Department of Sports, Government of India, trains players at sub-junior, junior and senior level. The governing body engages in Coaching the coaches with International Standard certification programs, educates and equips technical officials and umpires to find a foothold in international arena, provides world-class infrastructure and International exposure for the players besides regular international competition. Hockey India has also pioneered in bringing top International hockey events to India such as the FIH Men’s World Cup in 2010 and 2018, FIH Champions Trophy in 2014, FIH Junior Men’s World Cup in 2016 and 2021, FIH Hockey World League Final in 2017. With its vision to popularize the game and constantly promote it, Hockey India brought the Indian Men’s Hockey Team into the top three in the world. Hockey India is also dedicated to getting the Indian Women’s Hockey Team into the top three in the world.
Odisha – the Eastern State of India – is known for its love for Hockey and over the years it has evolved to be the Global Hub of Hockey. The State successfully hosted the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, followed by the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha, FIH Olympic Qualifiers Odisha, and FIH Hockey Pro League 2020-21. Odisha has previously hosted the Champions Trophy 2014 and the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017. Odisha also hosted the FIH Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup in 2021.
Kalinga Lancers, the team owned by the State, were the winners in the Hockey India League 2017. Taking a step further towards realising the dream of restoring the glory of Indian Hockey at the global level, the State is sponsoring the Indian Hockey Teams till 2033.
Odisha also hosted the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023.