Indian hockey teams optimistic of chances at Olympic Test Event

India's men's and women's captain believe their side will do well at the Tokyo 2020 dress rehearsal at Oi Hockey Stadium

By Saurabh Shankar ·

The Olympic Test Event for hockey in Tokyo, running from Saturday 17 to Weds 21 August, has India as a strong contender in both the men’s and women’s events.

With no points or qualification places up for grabs at this event, which is part of the Ready Steady Tokyo series ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, this occasion provides a good opportunity for the Indians to experiment with their squads by trying out a few new faces and employing new tactics against some of the best teams in the world.

The men’s and women’s hockey teams feature several youngsters earning their maiden call-ups to the national squad with veterans like SV Sunil and Reena Khokhar returning to the fold.

Blooding the youngsters

The India men’s captain Harmanpreet Singh believes the Test Event will be the right platform to allow youngsters like Ashis Topno and Shamsher Singh to express themselves against top class opposition like Malaysia and New Zealand.

Harmanpreet Singh will be leading India for the first time at the Test Event

In a press conference, Harmanpreet said, "We have a great opportunity to test a younger bunch of players in the matches against Malaysia, Japan, and New Zealand.

"They are good teams to play against and it will be a good test for us; but we are well-prepared and will go into every match with the intent to win it.” - Harmanpreet Singh speaking ahead of the Tokyo Test Event

The men’s team began their campaign with an opening day win over 12th-ranked Malaysia, before taking on New Zealand a day later.

Harmanpreet’s side will play their final group stage game then on Tuesday against hosts Japan.

Wednesday is finals day with the top two teams from the group stages meeting for first place, and the remaining sides battling it out for third.

Confident of beating the best

The women’s team faces stiff competition at the Olympic Test Event as they are pitted against Australia, China, and Japan who are all ranked in the top 15 in the world.

But India captain Rani Rampal believes her side is up for the challenge and can beat any team on their day.

India skipper Rani Rampal hopes her team can upset higher-ranked opposition at the Tokyo Test Event

She said, “We have a great challenge in front of us at the Olympic Test Event, but we are pretty confident of doing well.

"It will be a tough tournament, but we know we can beat any team in the world. We have prepared well together as a unit, and the upcoming tournament will also help us with exposure against good teams.

"The journey to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 starts from here, and we will give our everything to win the tournament." - India captain Rani Rampal speaking ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Test Event

The Indian eves start their tournament against hosts Japan on the opening day before taking on mighty Australia on Sunday.

They will play their final group game against China on Tuesday (August 20) before Wednesday's classification matches.