By Nitin Srivastava
Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], June 20 (ANI): Indian men’s hockey player Manpreet Singh feels the squad has improved a lot in the last four years and the side can beat any good team in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Manpreet said the side will not underestimate any team in the Tokyo Games and will take one match at a time going into the quadrennial event.
"We have improved a lot in last 4 years as we have defeated most of the good teams, hence our confidence level is really high and we feel that we can beat any good team," Manpreet told ANI.
"In Olympics, you cannot say that a match is easy as every team is coming there to give their best so we can't underestimate any team and our strategy will be to go match by match. We are working on penality corner as we have really good drag flickers in the team. It will be really good for us to use them as much as possible and will try that whenever we get chance we create opportunity for penality corner we'll net a goal," he added.
Hockey India on Friday announced a 16-member men's squad for the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. With as many as 10 Olympic debutants in the squad, the Indian team has a lot of young talent.
"This team is a mix of young and senior players who have shown their potential in the last two years. So there are experienced and young players in the team who have shown their performance and they deserve it," said Manpreet.
"They will give their best in Olympics. Our side is a balanced side and we expect that the young players will perform in the same way as they have done in the last two years," he added.
Manpreet said the team looked at the positive aspects when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The start of last year was really good for us we were playing matches of the pro league and we defeated Belgium and also played matches with Australia and Holland but suddenly the Olympics were postponed due to COVID," said Manpreet.
"But in our team, there is a moto that if the thing is not in our hand we don't think about that because there is no point in looking at it.
"We decided to take it positively and after discussions, we said that now we have one more year for Olympics preparations and we will do more hard work for our preparations and will rectify our problems," he added.
Talking about participating at the Tokyo Olympics without fans, Manpreet said," This time there will be no spectators to support us but I think organisers have taken the right decision keeping in mind the health and safety of one and all."
Manpreet said to get accustomed to the environment players are practicing in the afternoon during training in India.
"As we all know that there will be heat in Tokyo some of the matches will have to play in the afternoon so that's why we are practicing in the afternoon here," said Manpreet.
"We are also focusing on our fitness because fitness will play a big role and I think practicing in afternoons and will help us there," he signed off. (ANI)