Team India starts practice in Bhubaneswar ahead of Hockey World League Final

Bhubaneswar: After arriving in Bhubaneswar yesterday, the Indian men’s hockey team has started its practice at Kalinga Stadium ahead of the Men’s Hockey World League Final. The Manpreet Singh-led side started their special practice session at the main turf of the hockey complex here.

The players, including three from Odisha, were seen sweating it out hard from early morning under the guidance of chief coach Sjoerd Marijne. Despite knowing the conditions really well, the three Odia defenders in the team Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas and Dipsan Tirkey also left no stone unturned at the practice session.

Young defender Dipsan Tirkey said, “The strategy is almost the same for our opponents. We have special plans for the tournament. Senior and experienced players are there to guide us. We are expecting good crowd support here like always and looking forward to enjoy here.”

All 18 players in the team mainly focused on getting a feel of the conditions at the venue here. After winning the Asia Cup in Dhaka last month, Team India is confident of doing well in this edition of Hockey World League final.

“We are improving day by day. We have one more week and we are working hard. We were the champions at Asia Cup and our morale is quite high. Our coach is good and we are focused for the tourney,” said forward Mandeep Singh.

The team arrived at the Biju Patnaik International airport in the afternoon yesterday. The players and support staff will keep themselves busy in practice and training sessions till December 1 to acclimatize with the weather in Bhubaneswar.  The opening game of this prestigious tournament will be played between Germany and England while India will lock horns against Australia in the second game of the opening evening.