Bengaluru : India men’s hockey team defender Surender Kumar has warned there will be no easy matches when the Commonwealth Games commence in Birmingham on July 28, adding that his side will plan for one game at a time, starting with the opener against Ghana.
The 28-year-old defender added the team has been training at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru with focus on physical fitness.”Our training sessions are still going on. Our focus has been mainly on fitness, and we have been working a lot on this aspect of the game.
We have worked on getting stronger in other areas as well, especially in defence,” said Surender.India are placed in Pool B along with England, Canada, Wales, and Ghana at the Commonwealth Games. They will be opening their campaign against Ghana on July 31.
Surender said that the team will not be taking any teams lightly and will go game-by-game.”We are not taking any match lightly. Every team will enter the tournament to win the Gold medal. Our current focus is on the first game against Ghana,” he said.
“We have been closely following their footage that we have received. Our coaches are making plans accordingly and we will hope to follow the same on the match day. There will be no easy teams in the tournament and we will go game-by-game,” Surender added.
India finished third at the FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League 2021/22 and Surender believes the experience of competing against tough teams in the tournament will benefit India in Birmingham.”Our target is to win the Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
The rest will depend on our performances,” Surender said.”The matches that we have played since the Tokyo Olympics 2020 have been quite good. We have played against strong teams and it has really benefited us.
We executed our plans well and thus we were also able to recognise the areas where we can improve upon. We have focused on those areas at the camp,” he added.Surender also praised the mix of experience and youth in the squad and revealed the advice the senior players have given to youngsters such as Abhishek and Jugraj Singh.
“We have told the players to not feel the pressure of performing at the Commonwealth Games, and to take them as normal games. The coaches and senior players have also been telling them that they have experience of playing against strong teams and hence, they are ready to perform in the competition,” he added.