Imphal: Another hockey player from Manipur, Shanglakpam Nilakanta Sharma, has been selected for the Indian men’s hockey team for the Tokyo Olympics to be held from July 23 to August 8.

Midfielder Nilakanta Sharma is among the 10 Olympic debutants in the 16-member Indian men’s hockey team for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Nilakanta’s selection came after Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam from Manipur made the cut to the final squad of the Indian women’s hockey team for Tokyo Olympics a day earlier.

Congratulating the squad, Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam said: “The Indian men’s hockey team has a rich legacy of Olympic performance to follow, and I feel this, more than ever the team is in a position to revisit its glory days to emerge as a top medal contender. The recent performance against Olympic Champions Argentina at the FIH Pro League shows they are headed in the right direction. I wish them all the best.”

Taking to his Facebook page, chief minister N Biren Singh said: “Congratulations Pukhrambam Sushila Chanu and Nilakanta Sharma on making it to India’s women’s and men’s Hockey squad, respectively, for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. I’m very proud that many young athletes from Manipur will be representing our country on the world stage. I wish you all the best and may your hard work and dedication bring laurels to the nation.”

It is a proud moment for the state of Manipur and all hockey lovers of the state that two of the players are in the Olympic squad, said Manipur Hockey in a release.

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According to Hockey India, the national men’s team has had a rich history in the Olympics with 11 medals, including eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals. However, it has been 41 years since the Indian team last won an Olympic medal and therefore, the current national men’s hockey team is very determined to change the course of history in Tokyo.

The current Indian men’s hockey team has won the 2016 and 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, 2017 Asia Cup Gold and 2019 World Series as well over the last few years, it said.

The team includes goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, defenders Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Birendra Lakra, midfielders Hardik Singh, Shanglakpam Nilakanta Sharma, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sumit, forwards Shamsher Singh, Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Mandeep Singh.

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