Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh (Photo/ Rupinder Pal Singh Twitter)

New Delhi [India], Nov 7 : Rupinder Pal Singh, the drag-flicker of India men’s hockey team, on Thursday pitched for greater efforts for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The team had defeated Russia 11-3 on aggregate in the FIH Olympic qualifiers to seal their place for Tokyo 2020.

“Our aim was to make sure we qualified for the Olympics, and now that we have secured our place, it is now time to put everything into preparing for the Olympic Games. We have nine months to prepare for the quadrennial event, and playing in the FIH Pro League will serve as good preparation for us. We will be able to determine where we stand against the top teams,” Rupinder said.

After the successful Olympic qualifiers, the Indian men’s team is scheduled to return for the next training and conditioning camp on November 18 in Bhubaneswar to look after their fitness ahead of the next year’s FIH Pro League.

“We have a three-week conditioning camp in Bhubaneswar where we will be given a debrief of our FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, and will then focus on keeping our bodies ready for the new season. In this crucial phase, injury prevention is also a key area for us, and we will look to place special emphasis on our fitness as we regroup for bigger goals next year,” Rupinder said.

The drag-flicker who missed out on few international matches also said it was a good feeling on making a comeback for the national side in the qualifying tournament.

“It was an amazing feeling to be back in the India blue after having missed out on some major tournaments last year. I was determined to perform well for my team, and make sure that we secured our place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Russia gave us a tough fight, but we showed our quality in the end and secured the two wins,” Rupinder said.

The 28-year-old also said that the next year’s FIH Pro League would be a good test for the Indian side and it will serve as a proper chance to prepare for the upcoming Olympics.

“The FIH Pro League was a great success in its first edition, and we are all very excited to be a part of it next year. These matches will be a great test for us, especially playing against the best teams from around the world. We will be hosting as well as touring some very strong teams in the next eight months, and I can’t wait to start our preparations for the same,” Rupinder said.


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