New Delhi: Indian hockey captain P R Sreejesh Monday called his team ‘favourites’ for the Asian Games gold medal and said their aim is to secure an early qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
India finished runners-up to Australia in the elite Champions Trophy in the Netherland which saw the team jumped one place to fifth in world rankings. If Sreejesh’s team defend the title in Jakarta, they will book an early berth for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
”For us the target is to win a gold and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, nothing less than that. Then we will get two years to prepare for the Olympics. And going by the current form of the team, we can win gold in Jakarta. We are the favourites to win the gold,” Sreejesh told this agency in an interaction.
We have a compact and balanced team. Sardar Singh is there and Rupinder has returned. It is a strong team going to the Asian Games and it also augurs well for the World Cup
P R Sreejesh
“We have done well in the Champions Trophy and we could have won the tournament. Confidence level of the team is very high. I would say this confidence is a huge change in the last few years. Now, we don’t fear of playing against any team in the world,” he added.
For coach Harinder Singh, who took charge a few months back, a title in Jakarta would enter into record books as India have never won back-to-back gold in the continental showpiece.
“We want to create a legacy of winning gold in two consecutive Asian Games and this team can defend the title this time. A gold in Jakarta will also build up a nice momentum for a podium finish in the World Cup India is hosting later this year,” said Harinder.