With just 50 days to go for the Commonwealth Games 2022 scheduled to begin in Birmingham on July 28, the Indian Men and Women teams gear up for a hectic season ahead. With both the teams leaving for Europe on Wednesday where they will play FIH Hockey Pro League matches in the final leg of the prestigious league, both Graham Reid and Janneke Schopman, Chief Coaches of Indian Men and Women Hockey Teams respectively expressed that they are well prepared for the challenge ahead.
“With a little less than two months for the CWG, we will utilize this time to ensure we are best prepared for the prestigious event. The Pro League matches will give us insights into the areas that require improvement ahead of the CWG.”
“We will reconvene the national camp for CWG in the last week of June and we will have a good three weeks to prepare before the contingent leaves for Birmingham,” expressed Indian Men’s Team Chief Coach Graham Reid, who accompanied the Indian Men’s team for Hockey 5’s in Lausanne where they triumphed over Poland in the Final.
Grouped in pool B along with England, Canada, Ghana and Wales, Indian Men’s team will begin their campaign on July 31 against Ghana followed by match against England on August 1. They will play Canada on August 3 and Wales on August 4 before the semi finals on August 6 and finals on August 8.
“There is an air of optimism among the players and doing well in Belgium and Netherlands will give us the right momentum ahead of the Commonwealth Games in July. With the Asia Cup team doing well too, our depth of players has only increased, making the team selection process for major tournaments all the more tough and interesting,” he added.
While the Men’s team will play against table toppers Netherlands and Belgium in the Hockey Pro League before the CWG in July, the Women’s team will have a hectic lead up to the prestigious quadrennial Games, the FIH Women’s World Cup starting July 1.
“The next few weeks are definitely going to be challenging and exciting as we play regular matches in June and July leading up to the CWG. Back-to-back Pro League matches will definitely give us the understanding of how the players’ bodies are reacting to recovery and being ready for a game within 24 hours,” stated Janneke Schopman, Chief Coach, Indian Women’s Hockey Team.
In the Commonwealth Games, the Indian Women’s team are grouped in pool A with England, Ghana, Canada and Wales. They will play their first match against Ghana on July 29 followed by the match against Wales on July 30. In their third pool A match on 2nd August, they will take on nemesis England and Canada on August 3. The semi Finals for Women is scheduled for August 5 and final on August 7.
“Doing well at both, the Pro League and the World Cup is our immediate priority. The team in 2018 CWG, finished fourth so definitely a podium finish is on the minds of the players,” added Schopman.