Imphal: Nilakanta Sharma of Manipur has been listed among the 16-member India men’s hockey team to represent in upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.
Hockey India on Friday announced the names of players in the national team.
With as many as ten Olympic debutants in the squad, the team is fuelled with a fresh approach basis intense training and preparation at the ongoing national camp being held at SAI Centre Bengaluru, Hockey India said.
The selected players are PR Sreejesh as goalkeeper; Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas and Birendra Lakra as defenders; Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma and Sumit as midfielders; and Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Mandeep Singh as forwards.
Chief coach Graham Reid said, “It has not been an easy process to make the final selection of 16 players as there is a lot of quality and ambition in this group of players. The performance levels of all the athletes are at an optimum level and more importantly they work well together. They know what it means to represent the country at the Olympics. We are now focussed on training with the same intensity and our goal is to put forward our best performance as a collective unit in Tokyo.”
Congratulating the selected squad, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said, “The Indian Men’s Hockey Team has a rich legacy of Olympic performances to follow, and I feel this time, more than ever the team is in a position to revisit its glory days to emerge as a top medal contender. The recent performance against Olympic Champions Argentina at the FIH Pro League shows they are headed in the right direction. I wish them all the best.”
The Indian Men’s Hockey Team has had a rich history in the Olympics. The side has won a whopping 11 Olympic Medals which includes 8 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals. However, it has been 41 years since the Indian team last won an Olympic Medal and therefore the current Indian Men’s Hockey Team is very determined to change the course of history in Tokyo. The current team has won the 2016 and 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, 2017 Asia Cup Gold and 2019 World Series as well over the last few years.
The Indian Men’s Team are grouped in Pool A along with reigning Olympic Champions Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and hosts Japan. The tournament takes place from July 33 to August 5 in Tokyo.