Bengaluru, July 18 (IANS) India’s men’s hockey team captain P.R. Sreejesh says that jumping to the fifth spot in the world rankings has come as a big confidence-booster ahead of the 2018 Asian Games and the FIH World Cup later in the year.
Following their stupendous silver medal-winning performance at the recently-held FIH Champions Trophy in Breda, the Netherlands, the men’s Indian team has surged a spot ahead, pushing 2008 and 2012 Olympic champions Germany to the sixth spot in the world rankings released on Tuesday.
Australia (1906 points) sit 23 points ahead of second ranked Argentina (1883), with Belgium (1709) and the Netherlands (1654) occupying the third and fourth positions.
“We are really happy and elated to see ourselves jump one step ahead in the world rankings. The higher we go there is a lot more responsibility on our shoulders to do well and come up with consistent performance,” Sreejesh said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The elevation gives us a big boost to do well in the upcoming 18th Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta and the World Cup in Bhubaneswar where we want to finish on the podium in front of our home crowd,” the experienced goalkeeper remarked on the sidelines of the ongoing national camp at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru.
The 30-year-old further added that the team needs to work hard to achieve their desirable goal of moving up to top three in the world.
“When you are going higher up the world ranking, everyone (other teams) will take a close look at us and we will be in their radar constantly. We need to work really hard to maintain and improve our position,” he said.
“I believe we have the potential to go higher up to World No.3 but for that we need to do significantly well at the upcoming events and world ranking has certainly added positive energy to our preparations,” stated Sreejesh, who was awarded the goalkeeper of the tournament at the FIH Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy, held between June 23 to July 1.
Meanwhile, the team’s chief coach Harendra Singh congratulated his players on their efforts but was quick to add that they must remain persistent to climb further up.
“My heartiest congratulations to all the players, support staff and Hockey India for their constant support. It is the hard work of the players that has paid dividends. I believe this team has the potential to do better and moving up to top three is realistic if we finish on the podium at the World Cup,” he said.
“We must work harder now and take this as a big motivation to excel in forthcoming tournaments.”