Indian men’s hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh on Thursday said it is a “moment of immense pride” for him to have been picked as the country’s joint flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Saturday. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday named Harmanpreet and Olympic medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain as the flag-bearers of the country’s 655-member contingent. In the recent past, Dhanraj Pillay (1998, 2002), Jyoti Sunita Kullu (2006), Gagan Narang (2010), Sardar Singh (2014), and Neeraj Chopra (2018) were India’s flag-bearers at the in the continental showpiece.
“Being named as the joint flag-bearer alongside Lovlina Borgohain for the Asian Games is a moment of immense pride for me. It is an opportunity to represent my country on an even larger scale, and I am truly humbled by this honour.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate our boxing star Lovlina for the same,” Harmanpreet said in a Hockey India release.
“I look forward to leading our contingent with all the enthusiasm and determination that has driven me throughout my career. This event is a testament to the unity and diversity of our nation, and I hope to carry our flag with the utmost pride and humility.” A key member of the men’s team, Harmanpreet played a pivotal role in India’s bronze medal-winning campaign at the Tokyo Olympics.
His drag-flicking prowess was on full display in Tokyo, where he emerged as India’s top scorer, netting six goals.
Harmanpreet recently led India to the Asian Champions Trophy title in Chennai.
Talking about Indian team’s preparation for the Asian Games, which is an Olympic qualifier, Harmapreet said: “We’ve put in diligent preparation for the tournament, and our entire team is brimming with confidence. Our primary focus is on the crucial group-stage matches.
“We won’t underestimate any opponent, as in major events, every team brings their A-game. Our mindset is geared towards victory against all opponents.” “After our commendable performance at the Asian Champions Trophy, our aim is to sustain that high level of play and clinch the gold medal at the Asian Games, which will help us in securing direct qualification for 2024 Paris Olympics,” he added.
The Indian men’s team is placed in Pool A alongside arch-rivals Pakistan, Japan, Bangladesh, Singapore, and Uzbekistan in the hockey competition of the Asian Games, while Pool B consists of Korea, Malaysia, China, Oman, Thailand, and Indonesia.
India will open their campaign against Uzbekistan on Sunday.
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