Bengaluru: Indian men's hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh on Tuesday said the upcoming Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai will be a "litmus test" for the side ahead of the Asian Games to be held in September-October later this year.
The seventh edition of the Asian Champions Trophy is scheduled to be held from August 3 to 12, serving as a precursor to the Hangzhou Asian Games in September where teams will vie for gold and qualify for the Paris Olympic Games.
"For many of us, it will be the first time that we will be playing in Chennai. I remember our seniors talking about the Asia Cup in 2007 held in Chennai which was a great tournament for India, defending the title in a successful campaign," Singh said in a release.
"This will be an ideal tournament for us to see where we stand against the same teams with whom we will be competing in the Asian Games. It will be a litmus test for the team ahead of the Asian Games.
"It will also give us a good understanding of our opponents and we can further prepare well for the Asian Games where we aim to win the gold medal and directly qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics." India won the Asian Champions Trophy in the inaugural edition in 2011 and beat Pakistan in the final in 2016 to reclaim the title. In the following edition in 2018, India were joint winners with Pakistan after rain affected the proceedings in Muscat.
In the previous edition in 2021 held in Dhaka, the Indian team finished with a bronze medal.
With Korea and Malaysia showcasing good form in World Cup 2023 in Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, Harmanpreet said that the competition will be intense.
"Korea has shown great progress over the last couple of years. They won the Asia Cup in Jakarta last year and also did very well in the World Cup," the ace dragflicker said.
"Malaysia too is a strong contender for the title and they continue to have one of the best penalty-corner attacks. It will undoubtedly be a hard-fought tournament."