‘Excited to give my all for India in Paris’: Hockey midfielder Manpreet ready for his fourth Olympics

New Delhi:  Indian hockey team senior midfielder Manpreet Singh is excited to represent the country in his fourth Olympics in Paris, a remarkable achievement that puts him alongside the legendary Dhanraj Pillay.

Set to play in his fourth Olympics, Manpreet expressed his excitement and pride, saying, “Playing in my fourth Olympics is a dream come true and a milestone that fills me with immense pride. It is a testament to years of hard work, dedication, and unwavering support from my family, coaches, and teammates. To follow in the footsteps of a legend like Dhanraj Pillay, who has been an inspiration for countless players including myself, is an honour beyond words.”

“I am excited to give my all for India in Paris, representing not just the team but the hopes and dreams of millions of fans back home. Our team is ready to show the world the spirit and strength of Indian hockey. We have prepared rigorously, and we are determined to perform at our best, bringing honour to our country and making our countrymen proud,” he added.

Manpreet made his senior team debut in 2011. Since then, the dynamic midfielder has amassed an impressive 370 caps and scored 27 goals, showcasing his skill and consistency on the field. His journey with the national team includes participation in three previous Olympic Games: the 2012 London Olympics, the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where he led the team to a historic Bronze medal under his captaincy to mark India’s first Olympic hockey medal in 41 years.

Also, speaking about the team’s mindset and expectations for the Paris Olympics and if there will be any pressure to match the Tokyo Olympics’ performance, Manpreet asserted, “There is no pressure on us; instead, we are looking forward to enjoying our performance in every match. We must not underestimate any team, regardless of their ranking. Each team will bring their best to the field, and so will we.

“Our focus is on fulfilling our responsibilities and supporting each other as a cohesive unit. We believe that by concentrating on our game and maintaining our composure, we can achieve great results. It’s all about playing with passion and determination, without letting pressure hinder our performance.”

Notably, the Indian men’s hockey team on Monday departed for Mike Horn’s base in Switzerland, where they will undergo a three-day training period designed to instil mental toughness. Following this, the Harmanpreet Singh-led team will move to the Netherlands for a series of practice matches before arriving in Paris on July 20.

India are placed in Pool B for the Paris 2024 Olympics, alongside defending Champions Belgium, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, and Ireland.

To advance to the Quarter-Finals, the team must secure a top-four finish in their pool. Pool A features the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, South Africa, and host nation France, setting the stage for a highly competitive 12-team men’s hockey tournament.

–IANS

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