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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 27 February 2024

Chennai litmus test for Asian Games for India men’s hockey team

The seventh edition of the Asian Champions Trophy is scheduled from August 3-12

PTI Bangalore Published 19.04.23, 07:29 AM

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Bangalore: The Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai will be a “litmus test” for the India men’s hockey team, ahead of the Asian Games later this year, captain Harmanpreet Singh said on Tuesday.

The seventh edition of the Asian Champions Trophy is scheduled from August 3-12. It would serve as a precursor to the Hangzhou Asian Games in September-October, where teams will vie for gold and qualification for the Paris Olympic Games.

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“For many of us, it will be the first time playing in Chennai. I remember our seniors talking about the Asia Cup in 2007 (in Chennai) which was a great tournament for India, defending the title in a successful campaign,” Harmanpreet said.

“This will be an ideal tournament for us... a litmus test for the team ahead of the Asian Games. It will also give us a good understanding of our opponents and we can further prepare well for the Asian Games where we aim to win the gold medal and directly qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.”

India won the Asian Champions Trophy in the inaugural edition (2011) and beat Pakistan in the final in 2016 to reclaim the title. In the following edition in 2018, India were the joint winners with Pakistan after rain affected the proceedings in Muscat. In the last edition, in 2021 held in Dhaka, India finished with a bronze medal.

With South Korea and Malaysia performing well in the FIH World Cup this year in Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, Harmanpreet said that the competition will be intense.

“Korea has shown great progress over the last couple of years. They won the Asia Cup in Jakarta last year and also did very well in the World Cup,” the ace drag-flicker said. “Malaysia too are a strong contender for the title and they continue to have one of the best penalty-corner attacks. It will undoubtedly be a hard-fought tournament.” PTI

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