Following its success in the Champions Trophy and the Commonwealth Games this year, the Australian team is keen on doing well in the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar and ensure an unhindered flow of government funds.
In Australia, hockey is one of the sports which will receive funding till the 2020 Games. “It is very important that we continue to get the funding. Obviously, it is linked to our performance. It is good to have the funding consolidated right till Tokyo," said Australia coach Colin Batch.
"I think the team has earned that with their performance over the last two years. But we would like to perform well here because then the players will get more funding.
"If we are knocked out early in the tournament, then it can affect our funding. So, it is important to be successful here," he added.
Defending champion Australia is focused on clinching its third consecutive title. “It’s great that Australia has such a proud history in World Cups… but this is a completely different group," said Aran Zalewski, one of the two co-captains of the side.
"We have 10 guys making their debut at the World Cup. We are not taking it as pressure but as a challenge," he added.
Zalewski said having two leaders was never a problem. “Before Eddie (Ockenden) and I took over the job, we had Mark Knowles. He was quite a strong leader. We are not only great friends but bring different strengths to the team. We complement each other well. There are lots of guys who are ready to put their hands up when it is necessary,” he said.
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