New Delhi, March 9: Though India is placed in tough pool B in the Paris Olympics Hockey (men) competition along with world and former Olympic champions, Captain and ace drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh, feels  that his players are capable enough to beat any team in the world provided they utilize their potential,' saying  'by harnessing our full potential, we can beat anyone,’

He was of the view that given the experience of the team, exposure it got in recent times and skill set, we believe we're strong contenders for a podium finish."

Ranked world no 4, India is placed in Pool B alongside formidable opponents: reigning Olympic Champions Belgium (world No. 2), Australia (world No. 5), Argentina (world No. 7), New Zealand (world No. 10), and Ireland (world No. 12). Notably, Argentina and Australia also have etched their names as former Olympic Champions.

The Men -in- Blue will commence their campaign on 27th July against New Zealand. India will next take on Argentina on 29th July before facing Ireland and Belgium on 30th July and 1st August. They will play their last group stage game against the formidable Australians on 2nd August.
Talking about the Olympic draw ,  Harmanpreet asserted  “Competing in Pool B is going to be challenging, given the undeniable potential of every team to emerge victorious on any given day. But we stand steadfast, mentally and physically prepared for every challenge that paves our journey at the Paris Olympics. As a collective force, our mindset is unwaveringly centered on our own strengths, as we believe that by harnessing our full potential, we can beat anyone.”

He also recalled India's showing at Tokyo Olympics, where they secured a Bronze medal after a 41-year gap,  “Tokyo was a monumental moment, and we're determined to carry that momentum into Paris. Our goal is straightforward – to upgrade the colour of the medal by aiming for Gold.

 In Paris   " we will be taking it one step at a time; our initial focus is on advancing through the group stage and securing a spot in the Quarter-Finals. With our experience and skill set, we believe we're strong contenders for a podium finish."

Meanwhile, world No. 1 the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, South Africa and hosts France make up Pool A of the 12-team men’s hockey tournament at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In line with the tournament structure, teams will engage in one match each during the group stage, with the top four from each pool advancing to the Quarter-Finals.

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