Bhubaneswar: Teams of USA and Uzbekistan arrived in Bhubaneswar on Saturday morning as they look to compete in the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 to attain qualification for the FIH Men’s Olympic Qualifiers 2019.
The FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 starts from 6th June 2019 here at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium which will see USA and Uzbekistan also participate as they start their journey on the road to the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
USA are grouped with South Africa, Japan and Mexico in Pool B, while Uzbekistan will be facing tough competition in Pool A from hosts India, Poland and Russia.
USA’s Captain Ajai Dhadwal, who has his roots in India, spoke on his team’s arrival, “It is a great opportunity for our team to come here to India, and play in front of a great crowd. We don’t get such great atmosphere back in the our country, but fans are really passionate about hockey here in Bhubaneswar. We are going to give our best in the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019, and we will look to take it one match at a time to make sure we are fully focused on the task at hand. It is a tough challenge but we are looking to give competition to all our opponents.”
Meanwhile, Uzbekistan’s Head Coach Rinat Mamatkazin said that his team’s training in Pakistan ahead of the FIH Men’s Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019 will help his side to compete against the higher-ranked teams. “We have been going to Pakistan since December 2018 to train for the tournament, and we have played against their local clubs and the development team. We have a fairly young squad and playing against higher-ranked teams will only help us to improve our game. We will be looking to compete and hopefully play well starting with the first match against Poland,” he said.
While USA play their first match of the tournament against South Africa on the opening day at 08.45hrs IST, Uzbekistan will be taking on Poland in the second match of the day at 17.00hrs IST.