India Olympics 2016 Hockey: The Indian men’s hockey team will skip tonight’s opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in order to keep fresh for its Group B lung-opener against Ireland scheduled for Saturday. Indian hockey men’s captain PR Sreejesh today said that his team would not be taking Ireland lightly. However, the women’s team will participate in the ceremony.
“We have a match tomorrow, so we don’t want to drain the players since the ceremony will go on for long,” Hockey India President Narinder Batra said. But sources in the team said the side has decided to skip the ceremony due to the lack of official kit for the ceremony. “The kit that was handed to the players has not fit most of them. The players didn’t have the time to check the fittings since they reached Rio quite late and were given the kit on the day they started their trip,” a source said.
The men’s hockey team, which last won an Olympic medal in the 1980 Games (gold), is aiming to end the medal drought riding on a good build-up to the Games.
India has the most number of gold medals in Olympic history but coach Roelent Oltmans has insisted to live in the present. “We will be hoping to improve on their 12th place showing at the 2012 London Games. We know about the fantastic past of Indian hockey, but we live in the present. We are aiming for the best possible result. I can try to influence these guys. Sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes, they don’t listen,” said Roelant Oltmans, who is in his sixth Olympics.
Indian hockey team – Men: Goalkeeper: PR Sreejesh (c); Defenders: VR Raghunath, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar; Harmanpreet Singh; Midfielders: Danish Mujtaba, K Chinglensana Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sardar Singh, SK Uthappa, Devinder Walmiki; Forwards: SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Rupinder Pal Singh, Vikas Dahiya, Pradeep Mor.