Olympics on mind, India improving with each match: Gurjant

BHUBANESWAR, FEB 6 : India forward Gurjant Singh has said that every member in the team has Tokyo Olympics on their mind and will thus use the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League fixtures against Belgium to further their preparation and boost their confidence.

India had a great start to their FIH Pro League campaign as they defeated the Netherlands in both their matches last month.

Ahead of the two matches slated to be played on Saturday and Sunday at the Kalinga Stadium against World No. 1 Belgium, Gurjant expressed that the Indian set-up is improving with each match and is working towards a common goal of performing well at the Olympics this year.

“This is a very crucial time for us. Every match is very important for us. We are coordinating and playing well as a unit. However, we have to ensure that we keep putting up good performances consistently. Each and every player in the team has the Olympics in their mind and we are working towards doing well at the tournament,” said the 25-year-old.

The forward added that the team is confident ahead of taking on Belgium since India performed brilliantly during their tour of the country last year.

“We had a great tour of Belgium last year as we won all our matches there. That result certainly gives us a lot of confidence. All the FIH Hockey Pro League matches will help us prepare for the Olympics. All the top teams in the world are playing this tournament. Now the Indian team is performing well. We beat the Netherlands last month, who are ranked third in the world. So the team’s morale is quite high at the moment,” said Gurjant.

India registered an incredible come-from-behind win against the Netherlands in their second FIH Hockey Pro League match in January. The Indians were 1-3 behind and then came back to win the match in the shootout. Gurjant expressed that such victories give a major boost to the side.

“After such a victory, the team’s morale gets a major boost. So one can say that the Indian team is a good chaser as well. We can come from behind and win the match and that too against the World No. 3 side. So such victories motivate us as individuals and as a team. It makes the side mentally stronger,” said the forward.

Meanwhile, Belgium captain Thomas Briels has already stated that they are expecting a tough challenge from India.

“India is looking really sharp as well, and they have been playing well which is something we saw in their initial two matches against the Dutch. We expect a tough couple of matches, and it’s going to be a good fight for us as well,” said Briels after his team’s arrival in the city on Wednesday.

“Of course, we are wary of the threat that they possess, but we are really excited to play a tough opponent like India so we can improve further before the Olympics.”

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