Hockey India (HI) appointed experienced defender Birendra Lakra of Odisha as the vice-captain of the 16-member Olympic-bound Indian Men’s Hockey Team.
As per the official, Birendra Lakra has been appointed as the deputy of the team along with Harmanpreet Singh who will be the Captain of the squad. Earlier, HI had appointed experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka of Odisha as the vice-captain of the Indian women’s hockey team for the mega competition.
Birendra is a veteran defender who was also part of the London Olympic Games but sadly missed playing in Rio owing to a major knee surgery in 2016. But since his return to the squad following the brief break due to injury, Birendra has only grown in his performance and has been resolute in his role in the team.
Under Manpreet’s captaincy, the Indian team over the past four years have achieved important milestones including winning the Asia Cup in 2017, winning the Asian Champions Trophy in 2018 as well winning the FIH Series Final in 2019. The team led by Manpreet also made it to the quarterfinals of the FIH Men’s World Cup 2018 in Bhubaneswar. They performed exceedingly well in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 before the pandemic disrupted the schedule. This will be Manpreet’s third Olympic Games and under his leadership, the team has also improved their world ranking as they are currently positioned at No.4.
India will begin their campaign in Tokyo on 24 July 2021 when they take on New Zealand in their first Pool stage match.
Image Source – Google
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