Tokyo Olympics hockey qualifiers: India men’s team gets favourable draw

Ruben Hill
September 11, 2019

In the draw conducted at the FIH headquarters in Lausanne on Monday, world No. 5 India avoided a clash against arch-rivals Pakistan and drew Russian Federation, ranked 22 in the world. Hence it won't be a cakewalk for the Rani Rampal-led side.

The IOC told Kyodo News, however, that discussions with both the North and South Korean National Olympic Committees are ongoing, leaving open the possibility of unified Korean teams competing if they are granted an exception by the games' governing body.

As part of preparation for the Qualifiers, the Indian women will play a five-match series against England later this month.

Meanwhile, Indian Team Chief Coach Graham Reid emphasised that playing World No.2 Belgium in September will help them step-up their performance ahead of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers.

Great Britain's men, who include a number of Northern Ireland players, will host Malaysia in their play-off with the British women taking on Chile. "So, we are looking forward to a good challenge for us", said men's team head coach Graham Reid.

The women's team, however, drew a tricky opponent in the USA.

Up against the United States, India will have to bring their "A" game to the fore if they are to get past this hurdle and qualify for the Olympics in 2020.

The coaches of the men's and women's teams too were equally excited about the matches lined up till November.

The five-match series during India's tour of England in September will serve as the flawless series for the Indian Women's Hockey Team to prepare for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers. "I am certain that they will come well prepared because it is the Olympic Qualifiers and they're capable of astonishing any staff thus it's important we stay focused on our own operation and play our very best hockey". They're devoted to attaining the Olympic Qualifications, and in that pursuit, we continue to focus on enhancing our defense and functioning on generating quality chances in the circle in this continuing camp. We are focusing on continuing the brilliant communication on the field and maintain our level of performance. We have gained momentum at the right time by winning the FIH Women's Series Finals in Hiroshima and the Olympic Test Event.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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