An aura of expectation and positivity surrounds the Indian men’s hockey team as they launch another bid for Olympic glory in few days time. There’s encouragement from all quarters and despite a squad boasting of 10 players that will be making their Olympic debuts in Tokyo, the team is still among the favourites to win a medal, dare I say, even gold.
So what has contributed to this high expectation?
To start of with, the team has been pretty consistent in the recent years. They have been consistently registering victories against strong teams. Since Rio Games, they have finished runners-up at Champions Trophy, won bronze at Asian Games, clinched gold at Men’s Asia Cup, won successive gold medals at the Asian Champions Trophy, finished at the top of World Hockey Series among others.
The team is a healthy mixture of old and youth. Defense is their strong area but a lack of experience in the attack could be an area of concern. And under the leadership of Manpreet Singh and guidance of coach Graham Reid, the squad has all the makings of returning home with a medal.
- Sport/Discipline: Field Hockey (Men)
- World Ranking: 4
- First Olympics: 1928, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
- Tokyo Olympics Pool: India are in Pool A alongside defending champions Argentina, world champion Australia, hosts Japan, Spain and New Zealand.
- Gold: 1928, Amsterdam
- Gold: 1932, Los Angeles
- Gold: 1936, Berlin
- Gold: 1948, London
- Gold: 1952, Helsinki
- Gold: 1956, Melbourne
- Gold: 1964, Tokyo
- Gold: 1980, Moscow
- Gold: 1975, Kuala Lumpur
- Gold: 1966, Bangkok
- Gold: 1998, Bangkok
- Gold: 2014, Incheon
Tokyo Olympic Qualification
In November 2019, India faced Russia in a two-legged FIH Olympic Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar. In the first leg, India outclassed their opponent 4-2 and raised their game further in the second leg, crushing Russia 7-1 for an 11-3 aggregate win. With the win, the eight-time Olympic gold medalists booked their berth for marquee event.
Performance at Rio 2016
India men hockey team performed admirably during the Rio Olympics. They defeated Ireland and Argentina, drew with Canada while losing to Germany and Netherlands to make the quarterfinals. Belgium defeated India in the last-eight clash.
- Goalkeeper: PR Sreejesh
- Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra
- Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh (captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit
- Forwards: Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh.