High on confidence host India’s Women Hockey Team was seen practicing before FIH Hockey World League Round 2 at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, to be held from March 7-14 in the capital city. Other participating teams were also seen brushing their preparations for the tournament.
Malaysia, placed in Pool B will take on Kazakhstan in the opening match of the league scheduled for 7 March 2015, India, placed in Pool A is all geared up to lock horns with Ghana in the last match opening day with an aim to outwit the opponents and hoping to make an impact in front of the home fans. Clash between Pool A teams, Thailand and Poland in the third match and Russia and Singapore in the second match will complete the day.
All of the teams will not only play to seal their positions in the finals but will also confirm their way for a safe passage through to the FIH Hockey World League Round 3 in order to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. With an aim to begin their campaign in the League with a win, the teams are making significant efforts to put their line-up and field plan in place. The players seemed focus and determined for their respective encounters and polished their skills undergoing training to show a valiant game of hockey in the much awaited FIH Hockey Word League Round 2.
While the Indian eves are encouraged to keep up the good performance with a victory in the recent practice match played against Poland 4-0, Malaysian eves are working hard to go that extra mile by displaying and implementing the best of their expertise.
Speaking ahead of their first clash against Ghana, Hockey India High Performance Director, Roelant Oltmans said, “We have to finish in the top two as our main motive is to qualify for the Olympics. The team has a lot of potential and we have to work towards helping the team mature. It is always one match after the other and it is not always about winning or losing, it is more about improving ourselves with each match. The team indeed is getting better each day and now we have to focus on being consistent. The girls are willing and able to help each other out at any given point during the game and work as a unit. Though we have not played a match with Ghana before and are not familiar with their style of play, we will be working towards refining our strengths and using them against Ghana.“
Speaking ahead of the practice session, Indian Women Hockey Team Captain Ritu Rani said, “We are excited on playing against Ghana in the opening match as it will be the first time that we will be playing against them. Our sole target is to perform well and get into Round 3 in order to get a step closer to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The team is confident with the recent victory against Germany and Spain in Valencia which has certainly motivated us to put up a great show in the league ahead.”
Speaking after the practice session today, Coach Malaysia Md Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim said, “It was our first training session here today and we practiced a few set pieces and worked out pretty well. We started preparing for this tournament almost three months back and we are aiming at entering the finals itself. Russia and Singapore are also pretty tough teams in the Pool but we hope to see India in the finals with us, as we are also eyeing revenge from them for the Asian Games loss.“
Commenting on the first clash against Singapore, Coach of Russian Women Hockey Team Oleg Potapov said, “Singapore is a strong team and we are looking to play against strong opponents. This will help us understand our loopholes and we will better ourselves. Looking forward to our first game and aim is to play the Finals against India.”
Anticipating a good opening game against Poland, Thailand Women Hockey Team Captain Boonta Duangurai said, “We had a light session today and we understand the structure that we will be playing with on the opening day. We have been training for past two months for this tournament and we will use this tournament’s experience for the future tournaments. We are a team of young players who want to learn and execute as much as possible. While we are ready, we will use each match experience to practice and better ourselves for next encounter.”
Speaking post the practice session, Poland Head Coach, Krzyztof Rachwalski said “It’s great to be back in India and we are really enjoying the weather and the hospitality here. We have a few days to go before the tournament begins and the team is practicing hard to get together as a strong playing unit. We are hopeful of having a good tournament and making it to the next round. We play our first game against Thailand and we are confident of getting off to a good start.“
India will take on Ghana on the inaugural day of the league on 7 March 2015 at 2000 HRS (IST) and Malaysia will play against Kazakhstan at 1315 HRS IST at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi on the same day. Thailand will play against Poland on 7 March 2015 at 1745 HRS IST and Russia will take on Singapore at 1530 HRS IST at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi on the same day.
The matches of the FIH World League Round 2 (Women) will be telecast LIVE and Exclusive on DD Sports.