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'Happy to keep up unbeaten record in Rourkela': Harmanpreet Singh

With a 4-0 victory over Ireland, the Indian men's team kept its unbeaten run intact at the Birsa Munda International Stadium in Rourkela in front of a brimming crowd.

Harmanpreet Singh Hockey

Indian men's hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 26 Feb 2024 10:31 AM GMT

The Indian men's team ended its FIH Pro League 2023-24 home leg campaign on a high with a 4-0 thumping victory over Ireland in Rourkela, Odisha, on Sunday.

The victory helped India keep its unbeaten run intact at the Birsa Munda International Stadium in front of a brimming crowd.

The Indian team played out a draw against Spain, the Netherlands and Australia in regulation time which helped the Men in Blue rise to the third spot in the FIH Pro League standings.

With 15 points in eight matches, India is currently standing behind Australia and the Netherlands, the table topper, in the FIH Pro League standings.

Expressing their gratitude to the hockey lovers of Odisha, India skipper Harmanpreet Singh said, "Playing in Rourkela is always special for us. The incredible support we got energised our performance and we have continued to be unbeaten here, without losing a single game in regulation time. We are happy to keep up this unbeaten record in Rourkela."

The ace drag-flicker is also the third-highest goalscorer this season with a total of six goals. "I think we came back from our South Africa Tour feeling mentally and physically fresh. We did a lot of team-building activities there that made us a stronger unit. I think we performed well here, and stood up to the challenge posed by top teams of the world," he stated, lauding his team's efforts.

India had begun its Pro League season at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar with a 4-1 win against Spain. In its next game, India recorded a 2-2 (4-2) draw against the Netherlands in regulation time, before losing 4-6 to Australia in a high-scoring game and followed it up with a 1-0 win against Ireland before arriving in Rourkela.

Vice-captain Hardik Singh seconded Harmanpreet and stated, "I think we showed a lot of character in these matches, both in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. We built on our performance from match to match and we considerably improved our defence. These matches were crucial in our preparations for the Paris Olympics and now we will go back to the drawing board and analyse how we can further up our performance from here on."

The Indian Team will resume its Pro League campaign in Antwerp, Belgium, on May 22 when it India will play Belgium and Argentina followed by matches against Germany and Great Britain starting June 1 in London's Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

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