Speedy Tigers' spouses roped in for Olympic Qualifier

KUALA LUMPUR: National coach A. Arul Selvaraj has left nothing to chance, as he even got his players' wives in the lead-up to the Olympic Qualifier in Muscat, Oman, on Jan 15-21.

The National Sports Institute (NSI) nutritionists recently advised the wives to prepare nutritious meals for their husbands, who are members of the national hockey team.

The top three teams in the qualifier will advance to the Paris Games. Malaysia have not played in the Olympics since the 2000 Sydney edition.

"The players' wives were given a talk by NSI nutritionists on what to cook, so that their husbands get the best nutrition to build their stamina.

"The wives have been advised to motivate their husbands in various ways. I want the players to be in the best frame of mind leading up to the qualifier," said Arul.

Last year, the Speedy Tigers were runners-up at the Asian Champions Trophy and almost reached the World Cup quarter-finals, but a shootout defeat to Spain denied them a spot.

However, Malaysia were mediocre at the Hangzhou Asian Games, finishing sixth.

Malaysia are in Group A with Britain, Pakistan and China in the qualifier.

"We also keep track of the amount players drink each day so that they do not suffer cramps leading to the tournament. Then, there is the video assignment each player has to watch after training. They also play friendlies against the national juniors team.

"So, I can safely say that the coaches have done everything possible to get the players ready," Arul added.

Malaysia will play friendly matches against Chile and Canada, who are in Group B, in Muscat as warm-ups for the qualifier.

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