India named ten Olympic debutants in its 16-member men’s hockey squad for the Tokyo Games, which will take place from July 23 to August 8. The squad also includes seasoned players like PR Sreejesh and Manpreet Singh.
The ten players who will make their Olympic debut in Tokyo are Amit Rohidas, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit, Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
Six seasoned combatants, including previous skipper and goalie Sreejesh, midfielder Manpreet, defenders Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, and Surender Kumar, and striker Mandeep Singh, make up the 16-member roster.
These athletes were members of the previous Olympic team that competed in Rio de Janeiro.
Birendra Lakra, a veteran defender who missed the 2016 Olympics owing to a knee injury, has been included in the squad and will make his Olympic debut in Tokyo.
Sreejesh is the team’s only goalkeeper, as talented Krishan Bahadur Pathak missed out on an Olympic berth despite being a key member of the squad in the run-up to the quadrennial Games.
The Indian Mens Hockey Team for Tokyo Olympics 2021
Always a proud moment to wear the Indian colur and represent a Billion people
Lets all together wish our players the very best at the olympics
Good luck @TheHockeyIndia and captain @manpreetpawar07 pic.twitter.com/zvTC6hJmxB
— Vickramkanth (@vickramkanth) June 18, 2021
Five defenders, five midfielders, and as many strikers make up India’s Olympic team.
Strikers Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh, who were members of the Rio Olympics team, are significant absentees from the roster.
Even though Manpreet Singh has been the team’s captain for some time, Hockey India has yet to name the team’s leader for the Tokyo Olympics. However, it is expected that the ace midfielder will be retained in the role.
The Indian men’s hockey team has an impressive Olympic record, having won gold eight times.
They will, however, be hoping to end a four-decade Olympic medal drought this time around. In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, India earned the last of its eight Olympic gold medals.
In Pool A, India will compete against defending champions Argentina, three-time world champions and current world number one, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and hosts Japan.