India men’s hockey team to play Pakistan in 1st match of 2018 Commonwealth Games
India men’s hockey team, who are the Asia Cup champions and silver medallist in the Commonwealth Games, will open their campaign in the 2018 edition in Gold Coast, Australia against Pakistan.Updated: Nov 28, 2017 11:03 IST
PTI, New Delhi
Two-times silver medallist India will open their men’s hockey campaign in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia with a clash against archrivals Pakistan on April 7 as they landed in a tough group for the preliminary round of the Games schedule from April 4-15.
Placed in Pool B along with England, Pakistan, Malaysia and Wales, the India team will have to be on its toes from the first match itself as only two teams will qualify for the knockout semifinals from the preliminary round-robin group. The comparatively easier Pool A included five-time winner Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Scotland.
“It is a tough Pool but we are looking forward to the challenge. We are playing England and Australia here at the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Bhubaneswar 2017 so this experience we help us in our preparations for the Commonwealth Games. With the top two teams from the pool stage qualifying for Semi Final, the group stage will definitely witness close contest,” said Sjoerd Marijne, Indian Men’s Team Chief Coach.
Hockey was introduced in Commonwealth Games in 1998 at Kuala Lumpur and Australia has dominated the men’s section winning five out of five gold medals. Pakistan, Malaysia and New Zealand have finished second once while India reached the final in the last two editions in New Delhi and Glasgow. Indian men’s team did nog participate in the 2002 edition.
In women’s section, 2002 edition gold medallist India will face-off with England, South Africa, Malaysia and Wales in Pool A. Defending champions Australia, who have bagged gold medals in four of the five editions, Pool B comprises Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Ghana.
India and England, who played an epic final in 2002 in Manchester, will meet on Sunday, April 8 three days after the Indians had opened their campaign Wales on the opening day of competition.
“I am happy with the group. I believe our team can challenge any team in the world and jumping up the world ranking encourages the athletes to get better and better. It’s the Commonwealth Games and we can’t take any team lightly,” said women’s chief coach Harendra Singh.
Pool A: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Scotland
Pool B: India, England, Pakistan, Malaysia, Wales.
Pool A: England, India, South Africa, Malaysia, Wales
Pool B: Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, Ghana.
First Published: Nov 28, 2017 10:47 IST