The Indian Men's Hockey Team is currently sweating it out at the ongoing national coaching camp which is being held at SAI, Bengaluru and will conclude on May 21 ahead of the team's trip to Europe where they will take on Belgium, Great Britain, Netherlands, and Argentina in the remaining season of the FIH Men's Hockey Pro League 2022-2023.
The 39-member Core Group for the national coaching camp includes midfielder Sumit, who contributed to the Indian Men's Hockey Team winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.However, the youngster was out of action for some time after that and was also left out of India's squad for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela.
But the Sonipat-born midfielder did not give up hope of returning to the team for the FIH Men's Hockey Pro League 2022-2023 in Rourkela. He put up a good show in the Rourkela leg of the tournament as India defeated the mighty Australians and world Champions Germany twice.
Sumit spoke on his return to the team and performance in Rourkela, saying, "I played as a defensive midfielder in all the games in Rourkela, which helped me in doing better because it provided me with a clarity of thought that was missing earlier as I used to play at multiple positions."
"Moreover, as I was returning to the team after quite a time, I was eager to put my best foot forward and make the most of this opportunity."
Talking about the upcoming FIH Men's Hockey Pro League 2022-23 matches in Europe, Sumit said that they will be crucial for the team as it will serve as the preparatory event leading up to the highly anticipated Hero Asian Champions Trophy at home in Chennai in August and the Hangzhou Asian Games 2023 in September this year.
"We are confident of giving our best performance in the upcoming FIH Hockey Pro League games in Europe as they will be crucial for our preparations for important tournaments like Hero Asian Champions Trophy and the upcoming Asian Games," Sumit said.
"FIH Men's Hockey Pro League 2022/23 in Europe will help us fine-tune our team structure and strengthen bonds among players. It will also help us reckon the aspects of our game which need to be improved," he added.
Sumit also revealed the Indian Men's Hockey Team's immediate goal, saying, "We want to win a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games 2023, which will ensure our direct qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics."