Bengaluru: The Indian hockey team kick-started their month long preparations for the 2016-17 season at the Sports Authority Of India (SAI) centre here in Bengaluru. The team will undergo intensive practice sessions at the camp for the long season ahead and try to attain a considerable momentum before the all-important 2016 Olympics Games in August.
The fourth Coal India Hockey India League (HIL), which concluded recently saw the emergence of many talented prospects, both at the junior and senior levels, who have been included in the camp. A total of thirty-three probables are training at the camp organised as preparation for the Olympic Games, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.
Speaking to the media, the Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Roelant Oltmans said, “The preparations look good, we have a stretch of 20 to 25 odd games before the Olympics which will be very crucial for the team. The Coal India Hockey India League helped us tap some very talented young players, but for them to make it to the national team they have to be physically, mentally and technically adept. We as a team need to improve on few critical aspects and through this camp I hope to achieve the same with the players.”
The team led by Sardara Singh ended the last season on a high with a bronze at the Hockey World League Finals. This being the Olympics year, a lot will be expected from the team. Speaking to the media, the skipper said “The training camp is a great place for the boys to get back in groove and gear up for the season ahead. We have got 4 to 5 months left for the Rio Olympics and each training camp and tournament is important. The coach is working really hard with the team and each of us is taking initiative towards working on our individual goals and turns ourselves into a cohesive unit”.