A rich haul of eight gold medals make for an impressive track record for any country at the Olympics but India’s last medal came at Moscow 1980.
The Indian team, coached by Graham Reid, is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead during the round-robin stage. India have been drawn alongside current world No. 1 and three-time world champions Australia, defending Olympic champions Argentina, New Zealand, Spain and host Japan in Pool A.
Twelve teams have been divided into two groups and each team will play five matches in the round-robin stage. Top four teams from each group will then advance to the quarter-finals.
Ranked No. 4, India will be up against world No. 1 Australia on July 25 and face Spain on July 27. India will play Argentina and host Japan on July 29 and July 30, respectively.
Last year, India had a fantastic run with wins over Australia in March in the FIH Pro League, world champions Belgium and 2018-World Cup runners-up the Netherlands during their tour of Europe before the COVID-19 pandemic halted all sporting activities around the world.
However, earlier this year, India returned unbeaten with two wins and two draws against Germany and Great Britain during their tour of Europe. In April, India beat Argentina twice (once on penalty shootout) in the FIH Pro League matches but haven’t played any games in the last four months in the lead up to the Games.
The Indian hockey team qualified for Tokyo 2020 through the 2019 FIH Olympics qualifiers, which offered seven quota places.
There will be a lot of pressure on Manpreet Singh, playing his third Olympics. The 29-year-old, the first Indian to be named FIH Player of the Year in 2020, is leading an 18-member team with 10 debutants.
Young Vivek Sagar Prasad, Nilakanta Sharma, Sumit make for the mid-field line-up. Dilpreet Singh, Shamsher Singh, Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay will lead India’s attack.
The presence of experienced goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and other players like Birendra Lakra, Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh make for a strong defence line. Penalty corner specialist Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh will have to play their roles in every match at the Games.
Indian men’s hockey squad for Tokyo Olympics
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh
Defender: Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra, Varun Kumar
Midfielder: Hardik Singh, Manpreet Singh (captain), Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh
Forwards: Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh
Tokyo Olympics India men’s hockey schedule, fixtures and live match start times in India
All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST)
Saturday, July 24
India vs New Zealand – Men’s Pool A match - 6:30 AM IST
Sunday, July 25
India vs Australia – Men’s Pool A match – 3:00 PM IST
Tuesday, July 27
India vs Spain – Men’s Pool A match - 6:30 AM IST
Thursday, July 29
India vs Argentina – Men’s Pool A match – 6:00 AM IST
Friday, July 30
India vs Japan – Men’s Pool A match – 3:00 PM IST
Sunday, August 1
Men’s quarter-final matches – 6:00 AM IST onwards*
Tuesday, August 3
Men’s semi-final matches - 7:00 AM IST onwards
Thursday, August 5
Men’s bronze medal match - 7:00 AM IST
Men’s hockey Final: Gold medal match - 3:30 PM IST
*subject to Indian team’s performance in the round-robin stage.
Where to watch Tokyo Olympics hockey live in India?
Fans can watch the live telecast of hockey at the Tokyo Olympics on the Sony TEN 2, Sony TEN 2 HD, Sony Six and Sony SIX HD TV channels in India. Sony TEN 3, Sony TEN 3 HD, Sony TEN 4 and Sony TEN 4 HD will broadcast Tokyo 2020 in regional languages.
Live streaming of the Tokyo Olympics will be available on Sony Liv.
Live broadcast subject to Sony Sports Network.