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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Win ahead of Asian Games a plus: Craig Fulton

The India hockey team fought back from two goals down to eke out a 4-3 win over Malaysia in the final to claim their fourth ACT title here on Saturday

PTI Chennai Published 14.08.23, 08:56 AM
Coach Craig Fulton (with the trophy) celebrates with the India players in Chennai on Saturday.

Coach Craig Fulton (with the trophy) celebrates with the India players in Chennai on Saturday. PTI

The Asian Champions Trophy title triumph will "really count" as India set sights on Asian Games gold in order to secure automatic qualification to the 2024 Paris Olympics, said head coach Craig Fulton.

The India hockey team fought back from two goals down to eke out a 4-3 win over Malaysia in the final to claim their fourth ACT title here on Saturday.

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With the Hangzhou Asian Games scheduled to commence on September 23, Fulton was asked whether a thrilling final like this will help the side in the continental showpiece event.

"Finals are cagier; they never go smooth. It comes down to a moment or shootouts. So, it's important to have a game like this because it really counts.

"At the same time, it's (ACT) not the Asian Games. So our feet are firmly on the ground. But if you said to me to win the Asian Games and lose this final, I would obviously vouch for winning the Games," added Fulton.

Asked about the biggest learning from this tournament, he said: "Not to have back-to-back tournaments; that would be a start."

Several teams had reservations over the timing of ACT with the Asian Games just weeks away.

India now No. 3

Giving them a big boost ahead of the Asian Games, India on Sunday rose to third place in FIH rankings following their Asian Champions Trophy triumph.

India (2771.35 points) jumped one place to third and went past England (2763.50 points), behind top-ranked Netherlands (3095.90 points) and Belgium (2917.87 points).

This was the second time India rose to No. 3 in FIH rankings. India had achieved a similar ranking in 2021 after securing a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

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