Mandeep Singh has said that the Olympic Test Event in Japan will give the Indian youngsters a good exposure ahead of the FIH Olympic Qualifiers, which will be played later this year. The vice-captain of for this tournament has also mentioned that it will definitely be a new challenge for him.
The Olympic Test Event will be played from August 17 in Tokyo and the Indian team will take on world No 12 Malaysia, world No 8 New Zealand and world No 16 Japan. The top two teams after the league stage will make it to the final of the tournament. The Indian team, which was selected for the event, will not have the services of Manpreet Singh, PR Sreejesh, Birendra Lakra, Akashdeep Singh, and Ramandeep Singh. Harmanpreet Singh has been appointed skipper for the tournament with Mandeep Singh as his deputy.
Mandeep has said that the upcoming tournament will be a good exposure tour for the young members of the team and will also motivate the players ahead of the qualifying event for 2020 Olympics.
“The test event will give us youngsters good exposure of how the conditions are in Tokyo, and playing there will also motivate us even further to secure a position at next year’s quadrennial event,” Mandeep was quoted as saying by Hockey India.
“We are going to play Malaysia, Japan, and New Zealand and these teams have great quality in all departments. On the other hand, our team has a lot of younger players with two debutants as well, along with players who will be looking to prove a point as we progress towards next year’s Olympic Games.”
Mandeep, who is only 24-year-old, is one of the experienced players in the team with skipper Harmanpreet Singh, and forward SV Sunil and has represented the Indian team in 142 matches so far. The tournament will see two debutants in the Indian team – Shamsher Singh from Punjab and Ashis Topno from Odisha. Mandeep has said that it will be a challenge for him to take up the role of the vice-captain.
“It is definitely a new challenge for me personally to be given more responsibility in the form of the vice-captaincy of the Indian team. I take pride in playing for the nation, and to be able to get more responsibility, I feel it motivates me even further to bring more success to the country in the upcoming tournament,” stated the forward.
“SV Sunil is one of the most experienced players in our squad, and he is someone who I have always looked up to. It is great that we have the opportunity to link up on the field, and I am sure that we can enjoy much success in the upcoming tournament.”