2020 Tokyo Olympics: Hockey Schedule Announced
The Indian men's hockey team will take on New Zealand in their opening match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics while the women's team will play Rio Olympics silver medallists Netherlands on 25 July as the draw for the quadrennial extravaganza was announced on Tuesday, 17 December in Tokyo.
Speaking about the draw, Indian Men's hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh said: "A good start will always give the right confidence and momentum to carry on in the tournament so it will be important for us to begin with a win. New Zealand have always posed stiff competition for us and I believe it can be a close game," stated Manpreet, adding that the team will need to control their nerves.
The men's team, who have been clubbed with defending Olympic champions Argentina, world no.1 Australia, Spain, New Zealand and hosts Japan in Pool A, will play their second match against the formidable Australian side on 26 July and then Spain in their third pool A match on 28 July.
After a day's break on 29 July, they will take on Argentina on 30 July and then play hosts Japan on 31 July.
"Every game will be crucial at the Olympics and we cannot let our guard down against any team even if they are ranked below us. The competition will be so high that each match will need to be played like it's the final," Manpreet said.
Meanwhile, the Indian women's team skipper Rani Rampal said: "Draw does not matter because in the Olympics every team is equal and every team will come to the Olympics with an aim to win. As a team, we need to focus on ourselves and what we can do better on the given day.”
“We are preparing well to ensure we tick all the boxes in each of our matches and put all the energy into every game we play and give our best to the blue shirt if we want to see ourselves in the quarter finals and semi finals," she added.
The women's team are grouped in Pool A along with the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa.
They will take on Germany in their second Pool A match on 27 July followed by a match against defending champions Great Britain on 29 July. They will then play Ireland on 31 July and then face South Africa in their last Pool A match on 1 August.
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