New Delhi: Indian hockey team vice captain Mandeep Singh has opined that upcoming Olympic Test Event in Tokyo will be a great opportunity for the young players to display their potentials.
The ace forward was of the view that this event will give chance to the younger players in the squad to step-up in order to help the team win the tournament.
India is scheduled to play three round-robin matches in the competition between August 17-20 against World No. 12 Malaysia, World No. 8 New Zealand and World No. 16 Japan, which will see the top-two sides compete in the Final match on August 21.
With some senior players like PR Sreejesh, Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Akashdeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh being rested for the tournament, Defender and drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh has been given the captaincy of the team, while Forward Mandeep Singh will be his deputy.
24-year-old Mandeep is one the most experienced players in the team, with only veterans SV Sunil and Kothajit Singh Khadangbam having won more International Caps than the Forward player.
“It is definitely a new challenge for me personally to be given more responsibility in the form of the Vice-Captaincy of the Indian team. I take pride in playing for the nation, and to be able to get more responsibility, I feel it motivates me even further to bring more success to the country in the upcoming tournament,”
“We are going to play Malaysia, Japan and New Zealand in the Olympic Test Event, and these teams have great quality in all departments. On the other hand, our team has a lot of younger players with two debutants as well, along with players who will be looking to prove a point as we progress towards next year’s Olympic Games.
“The Test Event will give us good exposure of how the conditions are in Tokyo, and playing there will also motivate us even further to secure a position at next year’s quadrennial event,” added Mandeep.
The Forward who has 142 International Caps for the Indian team will be linking up with SV Sunil again in the forward-line, and says that he is excited to welcome back a player who has 250 International Caps for the country.
“SV Sunil is one of the most experienced players in our squad, and he is someone who I have always looked up to. It is great that we have the opportunity to link up on the field, and I am sure that we can enjoy much success in the upcoming tournament,” he added