The sporting fraternity is eagerly waiting for the commencement of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. The 2022 edition of the marquee event will be held in Birmingham and the Indian contingent comprises a plethora of promising athletes who are strong medal contenders.
While Neeraj Chopra, India’s javelin thrower, bowed out of the quadrennial event due to a groin injury, on Tuesday (July 26), the countrymen can still pin their hopes on several players to shine and take India’s medal tally higher in the overall rankings in the CWG’22 edition. Ahead of the upcoming tournament, Wion’s Sports Editor Digvijay Singh Deo spoke to India’s men’s hockey team’s captain Manpreet Singh and head coach Graham Reid as the duo dwelled on Australia’s dominance at the Games (having won six gold medals since the game’s inclusion in 1998), India’s fixtures and more:
How to stop a rampant Australia?
Graham Reid: Yeah look it certainly is (a challenge). It has an interesting history in CWG for the Aussies. Unfortunately, I was never able to play as a player but since then (in 1998), Australia have certainly dominated. Having said that, India have also done very well over the years and the job this time is to take it to the next level and win that elusive gold at CWG 2022.
Intimidated playing the Aussies?
Manpreet Singh: Doesn’t matter. They are No. 1 but we need to give our best. If we give our best, definitely the result will favour us. You want to win the gold medal so you are more confident and fired up.
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On Indian Olympic Association’s Covid precaution (asking players to limit outings to prevent viral infection’s spread)
Manpreet: We are doing the same thing (as we did in the Tokyo 2020). We heard some players got infected, hence, they were sent back. Hence, we are taking up precautions and following all protocols because even if one person gets infected, it will affect the team.
On India’s opener vs Ghana, playing England next
Reid: It is our second game but we always have to take one game at a time. Ghana is the one we are focusing on at the moment. England are at home here. Playing the English is a tough ask but a great test for us to see where we are.
India are placed in Pool B along with England, Ghana, Canada and Wales and they open their campaign versus the nation from West Africa, on July 31. So far, India’s best performance at CWG came when they ended as runners-up in the 2010 edition, in New Delhi, after being hammered 8-0 by the Aussies. Will they attain their maiden gold in the forthcoming CWG’22? Only time will tell…
ALSO READ | Neeraj Chopra out of CWG’22: After stupendous run since Tokyo 2020, javelin star’s misfortune catches up
INDIA MEN’S HOCKEY SQUAD FOR CWG 2022
GOALKEEPERS: PR Sreejesh (gk), Krishan Bahadur Pathak
DEFENDERS: Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh (vc), Amit Rohidas, Jugraj Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh.
MIDFIELDERS: Manpreet Singh (c), Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Nilakanta Sharma
FORWARDS: Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek.
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