Ahead of the Asian Games, Indian hockey captain PR Sreejesh has exuded confidence that his side has the ability to bag the gold medal. Sreejesh also said that India go in as 'favourites' and the aim is to secure an early qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
India, who are the defending champions in the Asain Games, will book a berth for the 2020 Olympics if they clinch gold after they finished runners-up to Australia in the Champions Trophy which helped them reach the number five position in world rankings.
'Target is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics'
"For us, the target is to win a gold and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, nothing less than that. Then we will get two years to prepare for the Olympics. And going by the current form of the team, we can win gold in Jakarta. We are the favourites to win the gold," Sreejesh was as quoted by PTI.
He added that there is confidence in the team and they never get overwhelmed by any team or scenario and this should them in great stead in the Games.
Harendra Singh, the coach who entered the fray earlier this year, will script history if he strikes Gold in Jakarta by being the only coach to have guided the Indian team to back-to-back gold in the continental event.
"We want to create a legacy of winning gold in two consecutive Asian Games and this team can defend the title this time. A gold in Jakarta will also build up a nice momentum for a podium finish in the World Cup India is hosting later this year," the coach said.
Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh is fit and makes a comeback and this has given the Indian team a lot of balance. There is a lot of experience and depth in the squad which has enthused the skipper.
"Sardar Singh is there in the team from the Champions Trophy onwards and Rupinder has returned for the Asian Games. On an average, all the players have played more than 100 matches," Sreejesh observed.