Rupinder Pal Singh: FIH Pro League will prepare India well for the Olympics

The Indian team will make its bow in the second edition of the league in January, 2020.

Rupinder Pal Singh: "We have nine months to prepare for the [Tokyo Olympics], and playing in the FIH Pro League will serve as good preparation for us." Photo: Hockey India

The FIH Pro League in January, 2020, will allow the Indian team to gain a fair idea about its strengths and weaknesses ahead of the Olympics, feels senior dragflicker Rupinder Pal Singh.

After opting out of the inaugural edition of the tourney last year, the Indian team will make its bow in the second edition. It opens its campaign against the Netherlands at home — on January 18 and 19.

“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,” Rupinder said.

‘Good preparation’

“Our aim was to qualify for the Olympics, and now that we have secured our place, it is now time to put everything into preparation 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, and we will have enough time to make improvements and corrections in our game leading up to the Olympics,” he added.

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Rupinder, whose career has been plagued by injuries, has a new lease of life after having being dropped from the national squad following India’s poor showing in the Asian Games in 2018. The snub almost cost him his career before he gained his self confidence to force his way back into the team for the Olympic Qualifiers.

“It was an amazing feeling to be back in India blue colours 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,” Rupinder said.

Schedule (round-robin stage)
  • January 18, 19: India vs Netherlands at home
  • February 8, 9: India vs Belgium at home
  • February 22, 23: India vs Australia at home
  • April 25, 26: Germany vs India in Germany
  • May 2, 3: Great Britain vs India in U.K.
  • May 23, 24: India vs New Zealand at home
  • June 5, 6: Argentina vs India in Argentina
  • June 13, 14: Spain vs India in Spain.