Graham Reid has stated that he is looking forward to the opening match of the Olympic Test Event against Malaysia and expects the two teams to have an intense battle. Women’s team’s coach Sjoerd Marijne has said that they will try to use the tournament to improve ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.
Indian men's hockey team will be looking forward to starting their Olympic Test event on a good note when they begin their campaign against Malaysia on Saturday. Even though India sits seven spots on top of the Asian rivals in the world rankings at number five, the two have shared some highly competitive encounters over the years.
Malaysia has had a history of upsetting India on the big stages, having defeated them in two Asian Games semi-finals over the past decade. However, India holds an impressive head to head record, having won six of its last 10 clashes against the nation.
“We are looking forward to our first match against Malaysia tomorrow. We have had some good tough training sessions in both brand new stadiums. Historically, we have had some grand battles against Malaysia and I don’t see tomorrow being any different,” chief coach Graham Reid was reported saying by Scroll.in.
The team has already qualified for November’s Olympic Qualifiers by winning the FIH Series Finals earlier this year and hence is using the event to test some of its younger players. Senior players like Manpreet Singh and PR Sreejesh have been rested and it will be interesting to see how the young squad fares even though it’s the highest-ranked team in the event. New Zealand and Japan are the other two teams in the group.
On the other hand, the women’s team will be facing hosts Japan on the same day. The match won’t be easy considering Japan has had the upper hand over the years but India had defeated them in the FIH Series Finals at their home earlier in the year to book their seats in the qualifiers. However, their toughest challenge will be the next match when they face the world number two side of Australia before going head to head with China who sit just a rung below them in the rankings at number 11.
“We are looking forward to a good start at the Olympic Test Event. This is a great opportunity for us to play against strong teams, and it will give us the chance to see where we need to improve ahead of the crucial FIH Olympic Qualifiers later this year,” Indian women’s team’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said.
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