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India set to meet Japan in opener

PTI
Published : Apr 6, 2016, 2:49 am IST
Updated : Apr 6, 2016, 2:49 am IST

The Indian men’s hockey team begin their preparations for the Rio Olympics with their campaign at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from Wednesday.

The Indian men’s hockey team begin their preparations for the Rio Olympics with their campaign at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from Wednesday.

Their eyes firmly set on an improved performance at the Olympics, an experimental Indian men’s hockey team begin preparations for the quadrennial event with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, where they meet Japan in their opening match on Wednesday.

Eight-time Olympic gold medallists, India’s tune-up for the Rio Games get under way on Wednesday with the opening fixture allowing the team an opportunity to find their feet before running into stronger opposition that include reigning world champions Australia.

With the Olympic Games just four months away, India want to make the most of their appearance in the 25th edition of the Azlan Shah Cup, while promising to improve upon their bronze medal effort of last year.

Boosted by their bronze in the Hockey World League Finals at Raipur in December 2015, India will test the ability of several youngsters to reproduce their training in match situations in the Azlan Shah Cup.

India have picked a squad with many young players from the core group as coach Roelant Oltmans is eager to test their match temperament before he decides on the team for the Rio Games.

India’s major challenge is expected from a strong Australian outfit, who are keen to reclaim the title from Oceania rivals New Zealand.

Former world champions Pakistan, hosts Malaysia and Japan complete the lineup for the tournament that will be played on a round-robin basis, with the top two teams clashing in the final.

Indian women suffer another loss Meanwhile, the women’s hockey team suffered a 1-2 defeat at the hands of fifth-ranked China in the last pool game of the Hawkey’s Bay Cup in Hastings, New Zealand, on Tuesday.

Location: Malaysia, Perak, Ipoh