Bengaluru, 3 May 2016: The men’s hockey Champions Trophy slated to begin on June 10 in London will be one of the key tournaments ahead of the Rio Olympics, feels team Captain Sardar Singh. The event which will be held at the Lee Valley Olympic venue will see India lock horns with world champions Australia, defending Olympic Gold medallists Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and South Korea. “Doing well against each of these teams is important for us as it will show where we stand in the lead-up to the Olympics. It will give us an opportunity to test the latest weapons (tactics) we have been working on in the camp,” said Captain Sardar Singh, here in Bengaluru at the SAI, South Centre, a day after the selection trials were held to pick the squad for London.
Though Singh feels that the team could have done better against Australia in both league match and finals match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup recently, and the Champions Trophy will help them access where they stand. “We had many chances where we could have converted into goals against Australia and we didn’t. The Champions Trophy will give us an opportunity to correct those mistakes and assess where we need to further improve for the big Games,” he said.
Speaking about the trials held on Monday, the team’s Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans said he is pleased with the team’s progress. “The trials were interesting. The focus was on the tactical aspect of the game and I explained that to the selectors. We had two teams playing each other and I was pleased to see how they played and executed whatever we had planned. We have plans for every opponent and we try and keep it simple,” he said.
To ensure the players are at their best for the Champions Trophy, the team will be given a week-long break before they leave for London. “I want the boys to be fresh and eager to win. That’s why we will give them a week’s rest in the third week of May. We will meet again here in SAI for a week before we leave for London in the first week of June,” Oltmans added.