Proud moment for me to captain the side, says Harmanpreet Singh

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Proud moment for me to captain the side, says Harmanpreet Singh

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SportsCafe Desk

08/23/2019

Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh says he is a proud man to have led India to success in his maiden stint as captain of the national team in the Olympic Test event in Tokyo. Although they rested some senior players, the world No.5 defeated New Zealand 5-0 to lift the crown on Wednesday.

India had a great start to the tournament, with a thumping 6-0 win against Malaysia in its opening match. It then lost to New Zealand 1-2 in its second match but bounced back superbly to defeat hosts Japan 6-3 and secure a place in the final. 

“It was a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved in the team to showcase what they can do. With some experienced players rested for the tournament, we had a fairly younger squad, but it was a great chance for the youngsters to do well and I am really pleased with the way everyone stepped up. The team performed well against teams like Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand, and it was an immensely proud moment for me to have led the Indian men’s hockey team for the very first time,” said Harmanpreet, who captained India in the absence of Manpreet Singh.

23-year-old Harmanpreet scored two goals in the tournament, both his strikes coming in each of the clashes against New Zealand. 

“Scoring is something that I have really worked on since junior days. To be able to help the team in scoring some important goals at crucial junctures in a match is something that motivates me even further,” he said.

“I have worked on my drag-flicking with the coaches, and finally it is showing on the field as well and I am really pleased, but I will continue to keep working,” Harmanpreet continued.

Having made his senior team debut in May 2015 at another Test series in Bhubaneshwar, he went on to become one of the youngest players in the side that represented the country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. 

“It was a great experience for me to have played at the last Olympics, but we came up short. However, the team is now quite focused on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and once we manage to do that, the hard work will continue to happen as we want to achieve something huge with this current team,” Harmanpreet added.

Since Rio, he has taken part in most major tournaments for India – including FIH Champions Trophy held in 2016 and in 2018, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2018, and the World Cup last year.

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