Bhubaneswar: Indian Men’s Hockey Team had their first training session on Thursday at the Kalinga Stadium here after arriving in the city on Wednesday for the season finale Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017.
The mega event will see top teams in the world battle for supremacy starting December 1 when defending Champions Australia will meet India in their first Pool B match while England will take on Germany.
The team went through the paces on a sunny Thursday morning under the watchful eyes of Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne as they started their preparations for the tournament. The 43-year-old Dutchman emphasized on speed and tactical training as the 18-member squad played a short 30-minute half-court match against each other.
“Our first practice session went well. It is good to be at the Kalinga Stadium. While it is my first time here, for the players it is like home because all of them have played many Hockey India League Matches here. The pitch is fast so we like it,” expressed Marijne after the 90-minute training session.
The next one-week Marijne wants to build the intensity during the training sessions.
“The focus is to get the intensity higher and higher for our conditioning as we approach match day. Our preparations have been really good with the 18-day national camp in Bengaluru but there is scope to get our level higher ahead of the tournament. We play short matches among ourselves so we keep the guys in match momentum,” stated Marijne.
The team also plays practice matches against Olympic Gold medalists Argentina on November 27 and England on November 28 respectively.
“For me the most important thing is performance. Rupinder and Biru (Birendra Lakra) who are making a comeback also get an extra match before going into our first game against Australia. While I am happy with how the players have done in training, playing matches is always good. It doesn’t matter that England are grouped with us. Playing practice match against any team is welcome and also both teams follow each other closely so there are not many secrets between each other,” he remarked.
Please find attached the photos of Indian Team training at the Kalinga Stadium on Thursday and match schedule of the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017.