After qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Indian hockey team captain Manpreet Singh now sees a golden opportunity of a podium finish when India host FIH World Cup in 2023. With India winning the bid to host the marquee event again within a span of five years, Manpreet believes this would be their best chance to finish at the top since 1975.
"We are really excited to learn that India has won the bid again to host the FIH Men's World Cup in 2023. We could not succeed in 2018 though we had a realistic chance of making the Semi-Final of the World Cup in 2018. The loss against the Netherlands was a huge disappointment for us but now that India is set to host the World Cup again, we see this as yet another opportunity to complete the unfinished business," exclaimed young and charismatic India skipper Manpreet Singh.
He further stressed on the strong pool of players India boasts of at the moment and their exposure at the international level in the coming years will ensure they have a strong and formidable team for the 2023 World Cup. "We have ample time to prepare for the next edition of the World Cup. Our first priority at the moment is to do well in the FIH Pro League and use the platform to prepare well for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where we seek a medal," Manpreet said.
"A good show in Japan will only lay a solid foundation in the build-up to the World Cup in 2023. We have a strong pool of talented youngsters in the senior and junior set-up and the next two-three years they need to step-up their game and use all the opportunities that come their way," he added.
The Odisha Men's World Cup in 2018 held at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium was a mega success with the world taking notice of the precession in executing the event and the grandeur in which it was hosted. While the 2018 marquee event was a spectacular show, Manpreet hopes the 2023 World will be a bigger affair.
"In terms of performance, our focus will be on the major tournaments that we will be playing from now till 2022 - 2023. This also includes Asia Cup which we will would like to win again and qualify for the World Cup even though we get automatic qualification as hosts. The World Cup in 2018 was the best that the hockey fraternity had ever seen with top class hospitality and infrastructure, so the next World Cup in India will surely have high expectations in terms of how it's hosted," he concluded.
The Indian men's team is currently on a break and will regroup for a conditioning camp starting 18 November in Bhubaneswar.