India : Indian Men's Hockey Team focused on defending their Asian Champions Trophy title
Photo Credits : Hockey India

The temperature on Wednesday morning in Bhubaneswar hovered around 32 degrees but the real feel was ten degrees higher, thanks to the humid conditions.

The sweltering heat, however, did not hamper the pace or deter the enthusiasm of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team Core Group who went about their morning session with zest.

The team began their preparations for the Hero Asian Champions Trophy next month followed by the much-awaited Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 here at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium on Monday.

The team, after reporting for the month-long national camp, was put through the routine Yo-Yo Test that helps analyse the fitness levels of the team members.

The weather conditions here are quite challenging. It’s humid and can be exhausting and a player can tire much faster than usual which is why we are paying more attention to recovery sessions post training,” explained Chief Coach Harendra Singh on the sidelines of the training session.

But working hard in this condition will only help us in Muscat, Oman during the Asian Champions Trophy where the weather will be similar to this,” he added.

Not wanting to delve too much into the disappointment at the Asian Games where the team settled for a Bronze Medal, Harendra said, “It is important for every player to be accountable and also be able to criticise their own mistake.

As a team activity, I have asked all players to mention five instances where they thought their own individual performance was poor during the Asian Games.”

Even though the team carries bitterness of the Asian Games, they are aware that only another win can help change the scenario for the team in the road ahead to Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.

With all top teams in Asia who were part of the Asian Games coming to Muscat next month, we need to focus on defending our title because only a win can help us forget about the SemiFinal loss at Asian Games,” he said.

The Chief Coach further emphasised that there is no need for the team to change their whole approach basis the two-and-half minutes of the match against Malaysia at the Asian Games.

We were blanked out those last two-and-a-half minutes, no doubt but there is not need to change our whole approach to the game as the team had done well through out.

We paid the prize for under-performing but there were also a lot of positives in the entire tournament and it’s important to revisit India’s performance at the FIH Champions Trophy too where they did well against higher ranked teams. This will reinforce confidence in the team,” he stated.

The Indian Men’s Hockey Team Core Group will continue their training camp until October 14 when they will leave for Muscat, Oman to defend the Asian Champions Trophy title.