Indian men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh feels that they should not get lost in the recent success against Argentina, with their job not finished until standing on the podium in Tokyo. India has been pitted in a group alongside Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Spain at the Games.
Even though India is the most successful nation in hockey at the Olympics, with eight Gold medals to their name, their last top-place finish came way back in 1980, during the Moscow Games. Since then, the decline in Indian hockey has been painful, with them failing to secure a single medal till now.
But, India’s resurgence in recent years has raised hopes ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Games, with many considering the event as the best opportunity to break the 41-year old jinx. The Men in Blue recently won back-to-back matches against defending Olympic champions Argentina, which has been a morale booster ahead of the Games. But, their skipper feels that they should not get lost in the recent success, with their job not finished until they stand on the podium in Tokyo.
"No doubt winning against a really strong team like Argentina in their home ground is a big confidence booster, but we shouldn't read too much into the results,” said Manpreet Singh, as reported by Hockey India.
"We need to keep our heads down and remain focused on the areas that require improvement on the basis of our performance here. Our task is not over until we stand on the podium in Tokyo," added the hockey star.
The six-match tour of Argentina concluded on Wednesday, where the Indians defeated the South Americans in each of the two FIH Pro League matches while securing two wins, one draw and losing the other in the remaining four practice matches. In spite of the results, Manpreet feels there are certain areas on which they need to improve.
"After the matches, we feel there are a few areas we need to improve upon. While we did well as a team to come back into the game even in the dying minutes of the match, we feel we could have started better. Also playing consistently, keeping up the pressure on the opponents in all quarters is another area we need to work on,” added the skipper.
India’s next set of FIH Pro League matches are against Great Britain on May 8 and 9, in London, followed by a couple of matches against Spain, in Valencia, on May 15 and 16.