New Delhi, 17 July 2018: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will begin their campaign at the 18th Asian Games 2018 Jakarta-Palembang against Hong Kong China on 22 August 2018 as per the fixtures that was announced on Monday. While the Men’s team led by PR Sreejesh will face Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong China in Pool A, the Indian Women’s team led by Rani will take on Indonesia on 19 August 2018 followed by matches against Kazakhstan, Korea and Thailand in Pool B as per the schedule announced on Monday.
“Though we are the Defending Champions, we cannot take any teams lightly. I don’t call this an easy group. We must be highly cautious against each of these teams as we have not played against teams like Hong Kong China and Sri Lanka. Japan is a rising team in Asia and are capable of surprising any team. They have done well in recent events while Korea too are a good team, play very defensive hockey and we have watched their game closely during the on-going practice matches in SAI, Bengaluru,” stated Indian Men’s Team Chief Coach Harendra Singh. The Indian Men’s Team had defeated Pakistan in the Final of the 2014 Asian Games to win Gold and qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The Chief Coach further stated that the team will go in with a must-win attitude if they wish to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. Harendra said, “I expect the team to be hungry to win the Gold again and get direct qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games and I want to make it clear that there will be no room for complacency.”
In Men’s Pool B, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, Thailand, and Indonesia, will go head to head to secure top positions in the round robin stage.
Meanwhile, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team will be vying for a Gold too in order to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games and had previous settled for the Bronze in the 2014 Asian Games. “As we arrived in London on Sunday for the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018, our focus is on the current tournament. However, in the Asian Games Pool, Korea will be our toughest challenge and I am happy we have played quite a few matches against them this year and are aware of how they play. The only thing I would say to the team is that it does not matter who we play, if we want to win, we must win against everyone whether they are ranked lower than us or higher,” Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne stated.
In Pool A of the Women’s Category, China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong China, and Chinese Taipei will take on each other to secure top positions in the round robin stage.
Hockey at the Asian Games will witness 21 Teams from 14 countries go head to head in the Men’s and Women’s categories in 60 matches over a course of 14 days. The winners of the Men’s and Women’s tournament will book their place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. All matches will be played in the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Sports Complex, Jakarta, Indonesia.