Defending Champions Korea, Japan arrive in Chennai for Asian Champions Trophy 2023

Defending champions Korea and last editions runners up, Japan men’s hockey teams arrived here for the Asian Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held from August 3 to 12 at the iconic Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium.

Defending champions Korea and last editions runners up, Japan men’s hockey teams arrived here for the Asian Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held from August 3 to 12 at the iconic Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium.

Both teams were afforded a warm welcome at the Chennai International Airport upon their arrival late on Sunday night.

Korea is set to face formidable opponents including Malaysia, Pakistan, China, Japan, and hosts India. They will lock horns with Japan in the tournament opener on August 3.

Talking about the tournament, Korean head coach Seok Kyo Shin said: “This tournament is crucial for us as it will serve as the preparatory event for the upcoming Asian Games, through which we are targeting a berth in the Paris Olympics next year. We are aiming to give our best in the Asian Champions Trophy.”

Meanwhile, captain Nam Yong Lee talked about the team’s preparations and said: “We recently toured Europe for friendly games, which helped us in preparing for the Asian Champions Trophy. The team is looking forward to playing against India as the hosts have many quality players.”

Further talking about the weather conditions in Chennai, Lee said: “I am coming to Chennai for the second time as I last came here in 2007 for the Asia Cup, so I am pretty aware of the weather conditions in the city. Also, the climate here is pretty similar to that of South Korea, where it’s also hot.”

On the other hand, Japan, after finishing second in the previous edition of the tournament, will be eyeing to go all the way in the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 and clinch their maiden title in the history of the tournament.

“I am very happy to be part of this tournament in Chennai. We are very excited and we’ll give our best in the competition. Also, I think the weather is very hot in the city, but that won’t make much difference as the climate is similar in Japan. Hence, we won’t have any trouble getting acclimated to the weather conditions here.

We are looking forward to playing against the Indian team as they have a strong side,” said Japan’s Coach Akira Takahashi.

Speaking about the team’s preparations, Takahashi commented: “We have fine-tuned our defence and attack structures, and we hope to play according to that in the tournament and also implement our new strategies. Our target is to at least reach the final of the competition.”

-IANS

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