Indian men drawn to face Russia in FIH Olympic Qualifiers

Indian men drawn to face Russia in FIH Olympic Qualifiers

The Indian men's team, ranked world number 5, is in Pot 1 alongside The Netherlands and Germany will face one team from Pot 3 which has Pakistan, Austria and Russian Federation. The draw, that includes 14 groups, was held on the headquarters of the Worldwide Hockey Federation (FIH) in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.

Head coach Danny Kerry said: "Malaysia are a good side with some great individuals and a number of threats, but having played them recently gives you that understanding of what that threat is". Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. "We have been focused on our team goal of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics", said Manpreet on the sidelines of the ongoing national camp in Bengaluru.

The Indian men's hockey team find themselves in the middle of an easy draw in the final round of the Toky Olympics, while the women's team suffered a tricky draw.

Both Indian teams find themselves in the qualifying draw after they failed to win the Asian Games gold medal a year ago, which would have secured a direct Olympic berth.

Ireland women's push for a first appearance at the Olympic Games will include Dublin dates on November 2 and 3 - with home advantage a significant boost for last year's World Cup silver medal winners. He explained, "As our Chief Coach Graham Reid states, we can't take any team lightly, and we will need to respect each competitor. They also want to qualify for the Olympics", Manpreet told PTI.

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The five-match series during India's tour of England in September will serve as the ideal series for the Indian Women's Hockey Team to prepare for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers. "I am sure they will come well prepared as it's the Olympic Qualifiers and they are capable of surprising any team", Manpreet was quoted as saying in a Hockey India release.

"I've always believed that the opponent we play does not matter as long as we are better prepared and that's been our focus".

The women American team is placed four places below India (ranked 9) it won't be a cakewalk for the Rani Rampal-led side when they take the field for the FIH Olympic qualifiers.

"The most important thing for us is to back up what we did at the World Cup and show that we can perform in big tournaments and, hopefully, see what we can do at an Olympic Games". We are focusing on how to perform well.

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