We intend to offer a strong defence: Rupinder Pal Singh

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Antwerp, June 12 (IANS) Ace drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh said on Friday that India hope to offer a strong defence when they take on other top teams at the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final here from June 20 to July 5.

“The defence in this tournament intends to come out strong. We are working on closing the space which will make things tough for the opponents. We are now realising that earlier there were gaps which helped the opposition to score against us. This time around we have particularly worked on this area, now awaiting to start putting this learning into play,” Rupinder said.

India have been placed in Pool A with reigning World Champions Australia, Pakistan, Poland and France. They open their campaign against France on June 20.

“A new situation is always a challenge for everyone but I will not allow this to deter my determination to showcase a strong play. I have been practicing and I am gaining confidence with each day,” said the defender.

“I am confident with the strategies that the team is working on and it will yield positive results for the team. Adapting to changes do not happen overnight but I am sure we will get into the groove soon and start delivering as per plan.”

The top-4 sides from the 10-team tournament will proceed to the HWL Final to be played in November-December in India. The top-3 teams will, however, qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, India became the first team to qualify for the Olympics when they won the 2014 Incheon Asian Games gold.

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