In a fervent display of sporting enthusiasm, the Indian men's hockey contingent set out on their journey to Huangzhou, China, where the Asian Games 2023 is all set to unfurl its thrilling chapters. Led by the formidable Harmanpreet Singh, the Indian squad finds itself nestled in the challenging embrace of Pool A, an arena that houses spirited adversaries like Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Uzbekistan. Their quest for continental glory is slated to commence on Sunday, September 24, as they lock horns with Uzbekistan in their tournament opener.
Pool B, on the other hand, is brimming with competitive vigor, featuring the likes of Korea, Malaysia, China, Oman, Thailand, and Indonesia. The Indian men's hockey ensemble embarked on their journey to this grand stage on a Tuesday, fuelled by the aspiration to etch their names in the annals of glory.
The path to the semifinals beckons, where the top two teams from each pool will strive to secure their spots. At the helm of the Indian charge, the steadfast defender Harmanpreet Singh leads the way once more, ably supported by the vice-captain, Hardik.
"Our team has toiled relentlessly in preparation for the Asian Games, and our commendable performance at the recently concluded Asian Champions Trophy inspires us to sustain that level of excellence," Harmanpreet declared in front of the press corps before the departure to Huangzhou.
Acknowledging the formidable challenge in their pool, Harmanpreet conceded, "Our group presents formidable opponents, but we harbor unwavering faith in our preparations and aspirations for a gold medal. We are here to conquer the podium."
In the domain of goalkeeping, PR Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak stand tall as the custodians of India's aspirations, while the defensive barricade comprises Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, and Sanjay.
The midfield battlefield will be navigated by the likes of Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sumit, and Shamsher Singh. At the forefront of the attack, the charge will be led by Abhishek, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
Vice-captain Hardik Singh, speaking before their departure for the continental showdown, expressed, "Our rigorous training sessions in the lead-up to the tournament have instilled unwavering focus and determination within the squad. We are in peak mental and physical condition for our journey to Hangzhou, and we eagerly anticipate the stiff competition in our group. Our mission is to carry forward our recent successful streak and return from China adorned with a coveted medal."
Here's the schedule for the Indian men's hockey team at the Asian Games 2023:
India vs. Uzbekistan: September 24 (Sunday) - 8:45 a.m.
India vs. Singapore: September 26 (Tuesday) - 6:30 a.m.
India vs. Japan: September 28 (Thursday) - 6:15 p.m.
India vs. Pakistan: September 30 (Saturday) - 6:15 p.m.
India vs. Bangladesh: October 2 (Monday) - 1:15 p.m.
The Indian men's hockey squad for the Asian Games 2023 comprises the following stellar names:
Abhishek, Gurjant Singh, Hardik Singh (Vice-Captain), Harmanpreet Singh (Captain), Jarmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sanjay, Shamsher Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, Sumit, Varun Kumar, PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Amit Rohidas, Nilakanta Sharma, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay.
For enthusiasts eagerly awaiting the spectacle, the matches will be broadcast live by Sony Sports Network and streamed on the SonyLiv app. Stay tuned for electrifying action and updates from the Asian Games 2023, where India's hockey warriors aim to script their own chapter of triumph.