Jakarta: Their campaign off to a rousing start with a record win, defending champions India will be eyeing another massive victory when they take on lowly-ranked Hong Kong China in their second pool match of the Asian Games here Wednesday.
India hammered hosts Indonesia 17-0 in their opening Pool A match, Monday, thereby registering their highest victory margin in the history of the Asian Games. India’s previous highest margin of win was a 12-0 rout of Iran in 1974 and Bangladesh in 1982.
The level of competition in Asian Games is by no means comparable to the world standard but a 17-0 walloping of any country can definitely be seen as a morale booster for India.
Ranked No.5 in the world, the highest among the Asian countries, India are tipped firm favourites to win their second consecutive Asian Games title. And coach Harendra Singh, as he had done in the past, again asserted that gold and gold only is India’s ultimate aim.
“It is always great to win games by record margins. But we have to keep in mind that our goal is the gold medal and direct qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We should play with that in mind only,” Harendra told reporters after the game Monday.
It is expected to be another goal fest for India against Hong Kong China, who are ranked No. 45 in the world. “It doesn’t matter, by how many goals we win, what matters is that we have to win under any circumstances in our pursuit of the gold medal,” Harendra stated.
A big margin will no doubt, boost their confidence ahead of the tough pool games Japan (August 24), Korea (August 26) before India again face minnows Sri Lanka (August 28).