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Indian men, women hockey teams ooze confidence for C'Wealth Games

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 3 (UNI) Indian eves will be striving to defend the hockey gold they won in Manchester while their male counterparts would be staging a comeback to the Commonwealth Games after a hiatus when the Melbourne edition of the event gets underway on March 15.

Talking to UNI on the sideline of the send-off ceremony here today, captain of the men's team Ignace Tirkey said the side was in good shape after the test series against Pakistan and the fitness level was also very high.

''We had a two-day camp after the test series and the boys are fit. We have identified some grey areas in the series against Pakistan and worked on them.'' ''With Deepak Thakur and Viren Rasquinha returning to the side, the forwardline and midfield have been bolstered. We also worked on our finishing woes and penalty corner variations. I think the present team is a good cohesive unit,'' he said.

Asked if the side would miss Dilip Tirkey, Ignace said, ''Dilip was our captain and he is such an experienced player.

But I think three other full-backs are also in good nick and we should not have any problem.'' Ignace said India would like to start on a winning note in their opening match against Malaysia.

''We have to face challenge from Pakstan and South Africa. In such situation, we would like to win our first game and face tougher opponents with a positive frame of mind,'' he added.

Helen Mary, on the other hand, exuded condfidence that the eves' team would be able to defend their gold medal.

''We prepared well for the event and will play our attacking brand of hockey in Melbourne. Our forwardilne is our strength and we would go all out there,'' she said.

Surprisingly, Helen Mary was replaced at the eleventh hour by Sumrai Tete as the captain of the side.

UNI AY PDS RS1525

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