Bengaluru, May 20 (IANS) Hockey India (HI) selectors are likely to announce the men’s squad for the Rio Olympics on July 5 while the two-week national camp will start on July 11, chief coach Roelant Oltmans said on Friday.
The team, captained by star goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh, is currently preparing for the Champions Trophy in London from June 10 before heading off to Valencia, Spain, to play the six nations invitational tournament. The team will return to India in the first week of July.
As part of the final preparations for the Rio Games, the team will leave for Madrid to play two friendly matches with Spain and then head to Rio for a friendly with Spain and New Zealand before participating in the quadrennial event.
“The national selectors are likely to meet on July 5 to pick the final squad for the Olympics,” Oltmans said in a release.
“We will start the national camp on July 11 which will be a two-week camp after we leave for Madrid, to play two friendly matches with Spain and then head to Rio and have a friendly with Spain and New Zealand,” he added.
“I believe we have entered a very exciting period in the lead up to the Olympics.”
Ahead of the hectic schedule, the 29-member Champions Trophy-bound team has been allowed to take a week’s break before rejoining on May 29.
“Starting June 5, the team will be away for almost a month playing two different tournaments in two different countries. Everything we do in this period will be demanding not just physically but also mentally,” the high performance director for Hockey India said.
“Though we are entering an exciting period and looking forward to the Olympics, vying to peak at Rio, it was important to take off for a week and be in a different environment.”
Despite the break, the Dutchman has suggested to the players to stick to a healthy diet and a specific programme to follow.
“This includes gym and running only to ensure they stay at the same fitness level,” Oltmans said.
While Oltmans will get to celebrate his 62nd birthday with his wife and three sons, Sreejesh is eager to meet his two-year-daughter back in Kerala.
“Last night over the phone she was asking when is daddy coming home. We have been away training really hard the past six weeks and this break with family will only help us come back feeling fresh and eager to win,” said Sreejesh.