Little more than two months remaining in the much awaited Rio 2016 Summer Games and India is not leaving any chances open to allow the team enough rest coupled with perfect training atmosphere. And, then, you have a Champions Trophy just in time to check your potential/development as a team.
After a much deserved week-long break in an Olympic year, the men’s hockey team joined the national camp on Monday. This will be their final preparations ahead of the FIH Champions Trophy which begins next week. The camp will not only get the players back on their hockey track for training, but will also test their fitness levels which some of them aced. On Monday, at the start of camp, most of the players were found to be fit and raring to have a go at the track when analyzed with a yo yo test.
Excited with the results of fitness test, the Chief Coach and High Performance Director, Roelant Oltmans said,”It’s the recovery factor. I am happy some of the boys are fitter than ever before.”
With the team taking on the mighty Germans in the opening match which is less than 10 days away, the Indian Coach stressed on defense.
Describing his point, he said,”It is the key to a team’s success at a tournament. There are times when you can’t score too many goals to win a match but you can certainly win by avoiding the opponents to score.”
“The Germans are known for their defense while the Australians defense is slightly unconventional compared to others and Argentina too heavily depend on their defense for good results. It helped them win Bronze at the World Cup. In our structure, the entire team needs to work on defense. Some of our attackers are good in defense too and that is our strong point,” he further added.
Oltmans is expecting the team to do well in the tournament, though he feels that this is the test of grit and skills of the players.
Speaking about the tournament, he said,”Everybody knows we are good in the knockout stage. But Champions Trophy this year will be slightly different and we need to finish top two to play the final and be top four to play for Bronze.
“It will be interesting to see how our players will cope to this situation and face the challenge. Our realistic expectation is to finish in the top three,” he spoke.
Speaking further about the India’s future commitments prior to the Summer Games, Oltmans said “There will be a little bit of pressure. It is a challenge the players need to be prepared for and show their best hockey.”
“Only 16 out of 29 members in the camp will get to play at the Olympics and that is quite a sizeable number to drop. They will have to challenge other players in the team which is why every match, every performance is important,” he concluded with.