Hockey Men's Asian Champions Trophy: India to begin campaign against Korea


Dhaka, Dec 13 (UNI) Defending Champions India will kick start their campaign against South Korea at the Hockey Men's Asian Champions Trophy here on Tuesday.

India will return to action for the first time since their historic Olympic bronze-medal winning campaign at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

The Manpreet Singh-led side is vying for hat-trick of titles in the Asian Champions Trophy. India have won the prestigious event thrice since its inception in 2011, and have won the previous two editions held in 2016 in Kuantan, Malaysia and 2018 in Muscat, Oman.

Eyeing to win the trophy for the third consecutive time, skipper Manpreet emphasised on getting off to a good start. "Korea is a good team and are very capable of slowing down our attack. In this same venue during the Asia Cup in 2017, we had drawn (1-1) against them in the league stage. Hence, it's important we don't get complacent against them and ensure our basics are right when we play them tomorrow."

"The tournament is quite an important one for us as it is our first tournament after the Tokyo Olympics. The new cycle has started for us. If we start well, then our confidence levels will go high.

"In the Hero Men's Asian Champions Trophy 2021, youngsters have been given a chance to be a part of the squad because some of them were unable to get a chance over the past two years as the focus was on the core team preparing for the Olympics.

"The youngsters have been working hard for quite a while, and hence, they have been given a chance to prove themselves," Manpreet added.

Speaking on the team's fitness level before the start of the tournament, Manpreet said: "We are in pretty good shape. We focused a lot on our fitness at the recent camp in Bhubaneswar. We are looking forward to see how the other Asian teams have shaped up over these past two years. The tournament will be a good test for our squad."

India will begin their campaign on December 14 when they take the field against Korea, followed by their match against the hosts Bangladesh on December 15.

The Manpreet-led India will take on the arch-rivals Pakistan on December 17, Malaysia on December 18 and Japan on December 19.

The semifinals will be played on December 21 and the final will take place on December 22.