Team India for Paris Olympics announced, 5 to make debuts

New Delhi, June 26 (UNI) Hockey India on Wednesday announced the eagerly awaited 16-member Indian Men’s Hockey Team that will compete for top honors at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, scheduled from July 26 to August 11.

With five Olympic debutants in the squad, the team is infused with a fresh approach, driven by intense training and preparation at the ongoing national camp at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru.

India’s men’s hockey team will continue to be led by ace drag-flicker and defender Harmanpreet Singh, with powerful midfielder Hardik Singh as the vice captain. Harmanpreet is set to play in his third Olympics, having debuted as the youngest member of the Indian squad at the 2016 Rio Olympics and subsequently contributing to the bronze medal win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The squad also features veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and midfielder Manpreet Singh, both of whom will be making their fourth Olympic appearance. The defense line includes Harmanpreet Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Sumit, and Sanjay, while the midfield will see contributions from Raj Kumar Pal, Shamsher Singh, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, and Vivek Sagar Prasad. The forward line boasts formidable players such as Abhishek, Sukhjeet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, and Gurjant Singh.

Additionally, goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak, midfielder Nilakanta Sharma, and defender Jugraj Singh have been named as alternate athletes.

Intriguingly, Jarmanpreet Singh, Sanjay, Raj Kumar Pal, Abhishek, and Sukhjeet Singh are the five players set to make their Olympic debut in Paris.

Speaking on the team selection, Chief Coach Craig Fulton said, “The selection process for the Paris Olympics squad was incredibly competitive due to the depth of talent within our ranks. However, I am confident that every player chosen will bring their best to Paris. Each player selected has demonstrated exceptional skill, dedication, and resilience throughout our rigorous preparation phase. Our journey has been marked by unwavering commitment to excellence and a collective drive to elevate Indian hockey on the world stage.”

He added, “This squad embodies a perfect blend of experienced players and promising young talents, giving us the versatility and energy required to tackle the challenges ahead. Our focus has been on building a cohesive team that can adapt to different playing styles and situations, and I believe we have achieved that.”

“As we head to Paris, our goal is clear: to play with heart, skill, and determination. We are prepared to face the world’s best teams and strive for the highest podium. This squad is ready to seize the opportunity and bring glory to India. We are confident in our abilities and excited about the journey ahead.”

Talking about the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, India is placed in Pool B alongside defending champions Belgium, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, and Ireland. To advance to the quarterfinals, the team must secure a top-four finish in their pool.

Pool A comprises the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, South Africa, and host nation France, setting the stage for a highly competitive 12-team men’s hockey tournament at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will kick off their campaign on July 27 against New Zealand, followed by a match against Argentina on July 29. They will then face Ireland and Belgium on July 30 and August 1, respectively, with their final group stage game against Australia on August 2.

Importantly, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team has a rich Olympic history, having secured an impressive 12 Olympic medals, including 8 gold, 1 silver, and 3 bronze medals. The Harmanpreet-led team will be aiming to add another medal to the tally.

Team India:

Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran (goalkeepers), Jarmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Harmanpreet Singh, Sumit, Sanjay (defenders), Rajkumar Pal, Shamsher Singh, Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad (midfielders), Abhishek, Sukhjeet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh (forwards), Nilakanta Sharma, Jugraj Singh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak (alternate athletes).

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