Amritsar: Pakistan Hockey team on Monday arrived in India via the Attari-Wagah border to participate in the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy Hockey scheduled to begin on Thursday. The men’s Asian Champions Trophy is an event held annually by the Asian Hockey Federation (since 2011). It features Asia’s top six field hockey teams during that hockey season competing in a round-robin format. India and Pakistan are the joint most successful teams in this tournament’s history.
Both were declared joint winners of the 2018 men’s Asian Champions Trophy Muhammad Saqlain coach of the Pakistan Hockey team said, “The team is travelling to Chennai to play in the Asian Champions Trophy and teams from all over Asia will feature in the tournament. Through sports, we hope to build our relationship stronger.
“I believe that through the sports and film industry, our bounds will grow stronger with India. People from both countries have big hearts and treat their guests well,” he said.
Captain of the Pakistan Hockey team Muhammad Umar Bhutta said, “The team will be playing in the Asian Champions Trophy. The tournament will be held from August 3 till August 12.
“Sport is a good thing, it helps to build your relationship with others. There should be a lot of sports,” he said.
WATCH Pakistan hockey team arrive in India HERE…
Pakistan has won the tournament on three occasions. They clinched the first title in 2012, the second in 2013 and shared the trophy with India in 2018. India won the inaugural tournament in 2011, then in 2016 and in 2018 they shared with the title with Pakistan. South Korea won the tournament in 2021.
‘Next two months crucial,’ says Indian hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh
The Indian men’s hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh and vice-captain Hardik Singh talked about the team’s preparations for the upcoming important tournaments including the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 which will be followed by the Hangzhou Asian Games, where the Indian team will be competing for direct qualification of the Paris Olympic Games 2024.
In the latest episode of Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series launched by Hockey India, Harmanpreet Singh and Hardik Singh stressed the significance of special camps conducted by Goalkeeping Coach Dennis van de Pol from the Netherlands, as well as the appointment of mental health conditioning coach Paddy Upton, ahead of crucial tournaments.
“It is really important. When you get to learn from someone who has tons of experience, it makes a huge difference. We have had good sessions in Bengaluru with Paddy and Dennis. These have helped us a lot as a team,” Harmanpreet Singh said.
“The next two months are very important for us. At the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023, we have this opportunity of playing quality matches before the Hangzhou Asian Games. It will be a good experience for the players. We have to make sure that we execute our strategies that we have worked on and I am sure that the tournament will be helpful for the players,” the captain added.
The upcoming Asian Champions Trophy which is a marquee event in the Asian Hockey Federation’s calendar is being held in India for the first time. Incidentally, Chennai is a very special venue for the India Captain as he was spotted by the then High-Performance Director of Hockey India Roelant Oltmans during the Hockey India Junior National Championships. “I remember when the junior squad was to be announced in 2015, I was in Chennai playing the nationals, which we won. At that point of time, Roelant Oltmans was there to see the matches and we were playing the final against Haryana. After that, I got called up for the national camp and then made my senior debut in the same year. The place holds a special place in my heart. I am very excited to go back there and play.”
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