HomeSportsHockeyIndia's Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: Full Schedule, Team, Live Broadcast
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India’s Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: Full Schedule, Team, Live Broadcast

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Indian hockey’s journey for an Olympic glory starts on Friday when the men’s and women’s teams feature in the respective qualifiers. The final line-up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be decided over the course of the next three days, with as many as four slots each for the men and women’s teams to be filled.

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Having failed to win a medal at the 2018 Asian Games or the 2019 Odisha World Cup, this will be the last chance for the Men and Women in Blue to salvage a place in next year’s global sporting extravaganza.

Six teams, viz., Australia women, Spain’s women and men, China women, Canada men and Netherlands men, booked Olympics-places last weekend, all winning their respective 2-game play-offs.

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And with ten teams already qualifying by being victorious in the respective continental championships, there are only eight berths – four men, four women – up for grabs of the 24 Olympic tickets.

Odisha capital Bhubaneswar will play host to the crucial fixture on Friday and Saturday for both the Indian men’s and women’s team. Although the venue is the same, the quality of the opponents that the Indian teams would face is far more contrasting.

While men (world No 5) seem to have a straight-forward fixture against the World no. 22 Russia, Indian women (world No 9) will have a slightly daunting task against the world No 13 USA.

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Manpreet Singh & Co.

Although they are ranked higher, the Men in Blue should not let that fact hamper their performances on the field. After all, complacency has been their niggling issue. Russian coach, Vladimir Konkin, put it perfectly, “In rankings we are 22nd, but in our souls, we are quite high. We came here to fight, and it will be a good battle. That is a promise.”

Coach Graham Reid, though, reassured on Thursday that due respect would be given to the visitors. “My message has been pretty much the same ever since I joined the team. Always treat everyone with respect, like you are playing the best in the world. We have prepared as well as we could and are ready,” he said.

Challenging tie awaits Indian women

While men will enjoy an apparently comfortable outing, the women’s team would be up for a mighty outing against the USA. Although they are placed slightly higher, the Indians have a poor 4-22 win-loss record against their American counterparts. Furthermore, the USA has lost only one game out of the five fixtures against India since 2016.

India chief coach Sjoerd Marijne, though, is confident about his team’s chances on the weekend.

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“We are really excited. These are the two matches we waited to play the whole year,” Marijne said. “We knew we had to play these matches but didn’t know whether we were playing home or away and against whom. We’ve prepared well. The moment is here, and we are ready.”

India captain Rani Rampal too reflected upon her coach’s sentiment. “Our first target to qualify for the Olympics was the Asian Games and unfortunately we couldn’t. As soon as Asian Games got over, our focus shifted to these matches,” she said.

Full Squad

Women’s Team

Men’s Team

Schedule: 2020 Olympic Qualifier 

Friday, 1 November 2019: Match 1

Women: India v USA – 6 pm

Men: India v Russia – 8 pm

Saturday, 2 November 2019: Match 2

Women: India v USA – 6 pm

Men: India v Russia – 8 pm

Live Broadcast

The Indian Women’s and Men’s hockey qualifiers for the Olympics will be broadcasted live on Star Sports. It will also be streamed live on Hotstar.

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