Sat, May 27, 2017 | updated 05:19 PM IST

Indian hockey captain Sreejesh warns teammates to be wary of `unpredictable` Ireland

Updated: Aug 04, 2016 16:48 IST      
Indian hockey captain Sreejesh warns teammates to be wary of `unpredictable` Ireland

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 4 (ANI): The Indian men's hockey team captain PR Sreejesh has warned his side against taking minnows Ireland lightly when they begin their Rio Olympic campaign on Saturday.

"The Irish can be unpredictable. They have been doing well in the European Championships and are sturdy and fast on the ball. It won't be an easy game to win and we will need to go full force," stated captain and goalkeeper Sreejesh.

While India are on a mission to end their 36-year-long medal drought in Rio, this will be Ireland's first Olympic appearance since 1908 when they had earned a silver medal.

Going by the recent record, the Indian team being ranked fifth in the FIH world rankings go in as favourites and will be riding on the confidence drawn from their recent win against Ireland at the Six Nations Tournament in Valencia, Spain, in June.

However, chief coach Roelant Oltmans does not want his wards to get complacent about their opponent. "We want to begin on a winning note and carry the momentum forward in the following group stage matches. We do not want to undermine any team especially at an event like the Olympics where every team wants to win," asserted the chief coach.

Ireland over the past has put up an inspired show beating Malaysia and Pakistan at the 2015 FIH World League semis and with Australia's Oceania Cup win, Ireland booked their berth to Rio.

If history is anything to go by, India has not yet won an opening match at the Olympics since Sydney in 2000 where they had beaten Argentina 3-0. At the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2012 London Games India was beaten by Holland 3-1 and 3-2 respectively on both occasions.

To turn the tables in India's favour, Sreejesh and his team need to watch out for Ireland's marquee players Mitch Darling, a forward who plays with Rotterdam and their captain and goalkeeper David Harte who won the world goalkeeper of the year award for 2015.

Meanwhile, the Indian women making their first Olympic appearance since Moscow 1980, will face-off with Japan, ranked 10th in the world, on Sunday. The team led by formidable defender Sushila Chanu will vie to put up a similar show they did when they beat Japan in the World Hockey League last year that kept them in contention for the Olympic qualification.

Though ranked 13 in the FIH world rankings, coach Neil Hawgood feels the girls are upbeat and are eager to make a mark at this Olympics. "The girls are excited and raring to get on with their first ever Olympic campaign. They have had a decent run in the tournament in the USA where we won a couple of games and will hope to convert the confidence from there into good result in the opening tie," said Hawgood.

Skipper Chanu said her team is excited and up for the challenge. "This is our first Olympics and we want to put up an inspired performance. We have done well against Japan in the past and we are able to execute the plans the coach has drawn for us, I am sure we will be able to succeed against them," expressed Chanu.

The men's team will take on Ireland on Saturday in their first match while the women begin their campaign against Japan on Sunday. (ANI)

New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): Touching souls, a non-profit organization, yesterday announced its second edition junior level of the International Tribal games at India Habitat Centre in the presence of its founder Sabina Samad and event supported by ONGC.

Full Story >>

Paris [France], May 27 (ANI): Indian tennis player Abhimanyu Vannemreddy will aim to secure wild card for the main boys' singles draws in the Junior French Open when he takes on Hikaru Shiraishi from Japan in the finals here today.

Full Story >>

IPL 10 brings 500 million interactions on Instagram

Updated: May 27, 2017 14:27 IST     

New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): The 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) concluded on Sunday with a dramatic final-over victory by Mumbai Indians over Rising Pune Supergiant in Hyderabad.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): Veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has sharply hit back at the media reports suggesting that he had a problem with Mahendra Singh Dhoni's selection for the Champions Trophy.

Full Story >>

`Injury-plagued` del Potro confirms French Open participation

Updated: May 27, 2017 12:43 IST     

Johannesburg [South Africa], May 27 (ANI): Argentinian tennis player Juan Martin del Potro, whose career has been plagued by injuries, has confirmed his participation for the next week's second major of the season-French Open.

Full Story >>

Monaco's Bernardo Silva signs five-year deal with Man City

Updated: May 27, 2017 11:49 IST     

London [United Kingdom], May 27 (ANI): Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Monaco playmaker Bernardo Silva in a five-year deal, reportedly worth around 43 million pounds.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): After 400m hurdler Jithin Paul was provisionally suspended for failing dope test, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Saturday issued notices to chief coach Bahadur Singh, deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair and others for keeping the federation in the dark and not informing them about NADA's surprise check in NIS Patiala.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): Javelin thrower Rohit Yadav has been provisionally suspended after he failed a dope test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

Full Story >>

NADA provisionally suspends javelin thrower for doping

Updated: May 27, 2017 08:03 IST     

New Delhi [India], May. 27 (ANI): The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) has provisionally suspended Javelin thrower Rohit Yadav, after he tested positive for banned substance 'stanozolol'.

Full Story >>

Champions Trophy: We're in a ` very hard` group, says Mortaza

Updated: May 26, 2017 21:23 IST     

Birmingham [UK], May 26 (ANI): Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza is convinced that his team can take its form of the past two years on to one of the sport's grandest stages as it gears up for the Champions Trophy beginning June 1 in England and Wales.

Full Story >>

London [UK], May 26 (ANI): Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has insisted that his side is under no pressure and have nothing to lose at the upcoming Champions Trophy beginning June 1 in England and Wales.

Full Story >>

Mangaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 26 (ANI): The second edition of the 'Indian Open of Surfing' on Friday got underway amidst much fanfare at the Sasihithlu beach in Mangaluru.

Full Story >>

Djokovic drawn to face Nadal in French Open semis

Updated: May 26, 2017 18:20 IST     

Johannesburg [South Africa], May 26 (ANI): World No. 2 Novak Djokovic and fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal have been drawn to face each other in a blockbuster French Open semi-final.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 26 (ANI): Even as the national football team prepares for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against Kyrgyz Republic in Bengaluru, the two newcomers--Lalruatthara and Laldanmawia Ralte are not much willing to speculate whether they would be able to secure a berth in the final 23.

Full Story >>

Nishikori, Wawrinka battle into Geneva Open semis

Updated: May 26, 2017 15:17 IST     

Johannesburg [South Africa], May 26 (ANI): Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori produced a spirited fight back as he bounced back from a set down to book his place in the semi-finals of the Geneva Open last evening.

Full Story >>

Can have 'big role' to play in Champions Trophy: Adam Zampa

Updated: May 26, 2017 14:35 IST     

Melbourne [Australia], May 26 (ANI): Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa has insisted that he can have a big role to play for his side in the upcoming Champions Trophy beginning June 1 in England and Wales.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 26 (ANI): As the Board of Control for Cricket in India prepares to meet the Pakistan Cricket Board to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries in 2014, senior BCCI functionary Rajeev Shukla on Friday said that they will not play any bilateral series against the arch-rivals without the Indian government's permission.

Full Story >>

Delhi Daredevils put in bid in SA's T20 league: Report

Updated: May 26, 2017 13:58 IST     

Johannesburg [South Africa], May 26 (ANI): Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Daredevils owners have reportedly put in a bid to buy a team in Cricket South Africa's (CSA) new T20 league.

Full Story >>

IPL 10 brings 350 millions interactions on Facebook

Updated: May 26, 2017 13:32 IST     

New Delhi [India], May 26 (ANI): The 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) concluded on Sunday with a dramatic final-over victory by Mumbai Indians over Rising Pune Supergiant in Hyderabad.

Full Story >>

Bengaluru [India], May 26 (ANI): Indian Senior Men's hockey team goalkeeper Akash Chikte has said that he is absolutely ready to face the world's top ranked teams at the Hockey World League Semi-Final, beginning June 15 in London.

Full Story >>