'Aiming to defend Asian Champions Trophy title to be the best', says men’s hockey vice-captain

New Delhi, March 1 (IANS): Indian men's hockey team vice-captain Hardik Singh said that the team is aiming to defend their title at the Asian Champions Trophy as it will be important to become the best in the world.

The Asian Hockey Federation on February 28 announced that the Men's Asian Champions Trophy 2024 will take place in Hulunbuir City, Inner Mongolia, China from September 8-17.

The teams qualified for this edition are China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, and defending Champions India.

Speaking on the significance of the tournament, Hardik said: "The Asian Champions Trophy is a prestigious tournament where teams battle to claim the title of being the best hockey team in Asia. We aim to be the best team in the world, and an important step in that journey will be to retain the trophy and solidify our position as the best team in Asia."

India emerged victorious in the previous edition, the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023, held in Chennai from August 3-12. They topped the pool with 4 wins and 1 draw, the draw being against Japan. In the semifinal, they faced Japan again and registered a 5-0 triumph.

In the final, India found themselves trailing 3-1 at halftime, but goals from captain Harmanpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, and Akashdeep Singh in the second half ensured that India were crowned champions of the continental event.

Reflecting on the team's performance, Hardik said, "The Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 was a spectacular tournament. As a team, we were still adapting to the new style of play under Chief Coach Craig Fulton, and claiming the gold medal was a testament to the progress the team had made under him.

"We also had the Mental Trainer Paddy Upton with us to help us along the way, and the team showed immense character to keep their wits about them and turn things around when we were trailing to Malaysia in the Final."

"Coming back from behind to win the tournament was a special feeling, and looking back, I feel the team used that game as a springboard to reach greater heights. There is no doubt that we are looking forward to playing in the Men’s Asian Champions Trophy 2024 and defending our title," the midfielder signed off.


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Title: 'Aiming to defend Asian Champions Trophy title to be the best', says men’s hockey vice-captain

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