FIH Hockey Pro League the perfect stepping stone for Tokyo Olympics: PR Sreejesh

Sreejesh believes that the upcoming FIH Pro League will be a perfect dress rehearsal for the national team ahead of the Tokyo Games.

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

All roads lead to Tokyo, as far as Olympic athletes are concerned. And it’s no different for veteran Indian hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.

Sreejesh believes that the upcoming FIH Pro League will be a perfect dress rehearsal for the national team ahead of the Tokyo Games.

"It was a great learning experience and each of us worked on bringing out our individual best and execute our roles to perfection, " Sreejesh told Hockey India. “The FIH Hockey Pro League was the perfect stepping stone for the Olympics.”

India is slated to take on Argentina in April, Great Britain, Spain and Germany in May during the next leg of the league. They will also host New Zealand at home in May.

India is the most successful hockey team in the Olympics – having won a total of 11 medals, including eight gold medals.

But the team has been struggling of late. At the Rio 2016 Olympics, India finished a disappointing eighth after winning only two of their six matches.

Sreejesh will be the key for India in the goals at Tokyo. India made their FIH Hockey Pro League debut in January 2020 with a convincing 5-2 win over the Netherlands at Bhubaneshwar’s Kalinga Stadium.

The 32-year-old goalkeeper was in the thick of action in the next game against their Dutch rivals, as India won 3-1 in the shootout.

Reliving his memories from the past edition, Sreejesh said, "It was one of the most memorable matches. I feel all of 2019, our true potential was not tested and we longed to play top teams like Netherlands, Australia and Belgium. FIH Hockey Pro League gave us that opportunity and we wanted to make it count.”

Sreejesh highlighted that the league will ensure the final team selection for the Tokyo Olympics depending upon the performances of the players.

"We are hopeful the FIH Hockey Pro League matches are held as per schedule this year, that way we get good matches against strong teams ahead of Tokyo Olympics in July. These matches will be a perfect test for us as players as well as a team and I am sure the final team selection for the Olympics will depend on how well we do in these matches," he said.