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A few tweaks still required before Olympics: Nilakanta Sharma

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Bengaluru, May 25 (IANS) Indian men’s hockey team midfielder Nilakanta Sharma said on Tuesday that the team still needed to improve on executing the short passes and maintaining possession for longer periods.

The 26-year-old from Manipur, who is currently training with the national team at the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) centre in Bengaluru for the Olympics, felt that only a “few tweaks” were required before India begin its Tokyo campaign in July.

“I think we can improve on executing our short passes and maintaining possession for a longer period. If we keep the ball with us for a longer period of time, then we can create more opportunities to score. However, everyone in the team is playing well. We just have to make a few tweaks here and there,” said Sharma, who has played 57 matches for the national side.

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Sharma added that the team’s preparations for this year’s Olympics were in full swing. He said that the team was confident about achieving its goals in Tokyo.

“The Olympics is not far away. Our preparations for the big event are going on in full swing. Everyone is confident and if we play to our potential, we can certainly make history in Tokyo. It’s all about peaking at the right time and that will be our main focus once the Olympics get underway,” said Sharma, who was a member of the team that won the junior World Cup at Lucknow in 2016.

Sharma said he was fortunate to get the opportunity to play alongside captain Manpreet Singh.

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“It’s been a great journey with the Indian team so far. We have seen a lot of highs and I feel we can do even better in the coming years. I have been very lucky to have the chance of playing alongside a player like Manpreet Singh in the midfield.

“I have learnt a lot from him. And there’s a lot more to learn from him. I really want to take my game to the next level this year as it’s an important year for us,” he said.

–IANS

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