New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist hockey midfielder Sumit on Saturday said winning gold at this year’s Hangzhou Asian Games remains their top priority as it will hand them a direct ticket to 2024 Paris Olympics.
“We want to win a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games 2023, which will ensure our direct qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics,” said Sumit, who played a key role in India winning a historic bronze medal in Tokyo.
The midfielder feels the upcoming matches of the FIH Pro League in Europe will serve as a perfect platform for them to prepare for important tournaments lined up, including the Asian Champions Trophy, to be held in Chennai from August 3 to 12.
Sumit is a member of the 39-core probable, who are currently sweating it out at the national camp in Bengaluru ahead of the Europe tour, where they will take on Belgium, Great Britain, Netherlands, and Argentina in the remaining season of the Pro League.
“We are confident of giving our best performance in the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League games in Europe as they will be crucial for our preparations for important tournaments like Hero Asian Champions Trophy and the upcoming Asian Games,” the Sonipat-born player said in a Hockey India release.
“FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2022/23 in Europe will help us fine-tune our team structure and strengthen bonds among players. It will also help us reckon the aspects of our game which need to be improved.” Sumit, however, was out of action for some time after the Olympics as he was left out of India’s squad for the World Cup, jointly held in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela earlier this year.
But he didn’t lose hope and put up a good show in the Rourkela leg of the Pro League as India defeated the mighty Australians and world champions Germany twice.
“I played as a defensive midfielder in all the games in Rourkela, which helped me in doing better because it provided me with a clarity of thought that was missing earlier as I used to play at multiple positions,” Sumit said.
“Moreover, as I was returning to the team after quite some time, I was eager to put my best foot forward and make the most of this opportunity.”
Source: PTI News