India: ‘Happy to keep up our unbeaten record in Rourkela,’ says India Captain Harmanpreet Singh

~ The Indian Men’s Hockey Team completed the home leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League on a high, and remained unbeaten on home turf in Rourkela in regulation time ~

Rourkela, 26 February 2024: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team ended their home leg of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 on a high note, registering a convincing 4-0 win against Ireland on Sunday. With this victory, the team kept up their record of remaining unbeaten (in regulation time) at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, the world’s largest seated hockey stadium, which was packed to the brim with die-hard fans from the region thronging to watch their favourite hockey stars in action. 

The Indian side led by Harmanpreet Singh and Vice Captained by Hardik Singh registered 2-2 (8-7), 1-1 (2-4), and 2-2 (0-3) draw against Spain, the Netherlands and Australia respectively in regulation time which enabled them to climb up to the third spot in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 points table behind the Netherlands and Australia.

Expressing their gratitude to the hockey lovers of Odisha, Harmanpreet Singh said, “Playing in Rourkela is always special for us. The incredible support we got energized 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 dragflicker 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 began their FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 season at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar with a 4-1 win against Spain. In their next game, they 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. 

Hardik Singh reiterated his Captain’s views 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 their FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 campaign in Antwerp, Belgium starting May 22 where they will take on Belgium and Argentina followed by matches against Germany and Great Britain starting June 1 in London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

By Hockey India

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