Eye on Asian Games, Indian men’s hockey team looks to fine-tune at Asian Champions Trophy | Hockey News

India, the top-ranked crew and three-time champions, are set to fine-tune their preparations for the Asian Video games and handle areas of enchancment within the Asian Champions Trophy males’s hockey event, commencing on Thursday in Chennai.

Because the highest-ranked facet within the event, at present sitting at world quantity 4, India will kick off their marketing campaign towards China on the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium, marking the venue’s first main occasion since 2007.
This event additionally holds particular significance because it’s the primary time India is internet hosting the Asian Champions Trophy since its inception in 2011.

The first goal for India on this event is to evaluate their gamers and acquire precious insights into their Asian rivals forward of the Asian Video games scheduled in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8. The Asian Video games supply a direct qualification ticket for subsequent yr’s Paris Olympics, making it essential for India to check their sources within the Asian Champions Trophy.
Nonetheless, they need to additionally steadiness this with preserving their gamers contemporary and injury-free for the all-important continental showpiece.
Whereas some visiting groups have expressed considerations in regards to the scheduling of the Asian Champions Trophy simply 5 weeks earlier than the Hangzhou Video games, India’s head coach Craig Fulton appears unfazed and able to embrace the chance to take part on this occasion.

“… It is one thing that you must do. However we want the video games. So it is necessary that we play it. It is even higher that it is in India,” Fulton advised reporters on Tuesday.
“We’re trying ahead to the positives and negatives. However on the similar time, we get to have a look at a number of additional gamers as nicely, which is necessary for us. Damage isn’t good for any crew or participant. So sure, I perceive the conflict and the timing.”
India’s captain, Harmanpreet Singh, has emphasised the crew’s have to be strategic within the upcoming event, avoiding an all-out aggressive strategy resulting from their fundamental focus being on the Asian Video games.

Regardless of gaining larger rankings and incomes respect in world hockey after their bronze medal efficiency on the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian crew confronted disappointment within the FIH World Cup co-hosted by Bhubaneswar and Rourkela earlier this yr, ending in a disappointing joint ninth place. Nonetheless, since then, below Harmanpreet’s management, the crew has performed 16 matches, securing victories in 9, enduring 5 losses, and settling for a few attracts.
Previous the event, the Indian crew was on tour in Europe, which left them with solely a three-day hole between their last match in Spain and their opening match towards China within the Asian Champions Trophy. This tight schedule will expose the crew to various enjoying circumstances.
One space of concern for India within the event is their penalty nook conversion fee. Regardless of having expert dragflickers in Harmanpreet, Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas and Jugraj Singh, their conversion fee has been a topic of debate lately. Addressing this situation will likely be a major goal for the crew within the competitors.

However coach Fulton isn’t sleeping over it.
“We have now world-class penalty nook (specialists). All of the gamers concerned in it are actually good. Opposition groups know we’ve got a risk there and attempt to diminish it by attempting to run down or not conceding as many is all the time one thing that groups try to do, and that is what we attempt to do,” Fulton had stated.
“I feel we are able to all the time enhance. It is simply how a lot element we need to go into and the way a lot time we put into enhancing it.”
India’s historical past within the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) has been a blended one, showcasing a mix of successes and challenges over time. They secured victory within the inaugural version in 2011, in addition to in 2016 and 2018, the place they collectively shared the title with Pakistan as a result of last being washed out.


(AI picture)
Along with their three victories, India additionally earned a silver medal in 2012 and a bronze in 2021. The latter achievement got here simply 4 months after their exceptional efficiency on the Olympics, the place they completed on the Video games podium after 41 years.
Quite the opposite, China’s look on this yr’s event marks their first aggressive occasion, as they missed out on the World Cup.
The opening day of the event will characteristic two different matches, with defending champions South Korea taking over Japan, and Pakistan locking horns with Malaysia.

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