The men’s Black Sticks are feeling confident in Tokyo, following a 3-1 win over India in a warm-up match ahead of their Olympic Test Event.
The New Zealanders played India in an 11-a-side 45-minute warm up game, with Kane Russell, Hugo Inglis and Sam Lane all finding the back of the net.
“It’s good to get the win and take that momentum into the tournament. I thought we played some good hockey out there as well which is really positive going into the test event,” said defender George Muir.
“Our short game was good, so we were able to hold the ball and control large parts of the game. India play a very fast attacking game and we were able to absorb that and make some good turnovers throughout.”
The Olympic Test Events are a key part of New Zealand Team preparation for Tokyo 2020. The events allow athletes and support staff to become familiar with the venues and conditions ahead of next year’s Olympic Games.
The Black Sticks will take on Japan, Malaysia and India in the test event.
“We’re playing a nice brand of hockey and for us it’s just about trying to build that as we work to qualify for Tokyo,” said defender Arun Panchia.
“This test event is really important for us. It gives us the chance to come to Tokyo and assess the environment. It also lets us try a few things and really lets us be on the front foot for July and August next year.”
The Tokyo 2020 Test Event is the Black Sticks final hit out before they travel to Rockhampton to take on Australia in the Oceania Cup from the 4th-8th of September. The winner of the Oceania Cup will gain direct entry to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
17th August – Black Sticks vs Japan
18th August – Black Sticks vs India
20th August – Black Sticks vs Malaysia
21st August – Finals