There were few things more annoying for Belgian hockey player Arthur van Doren than the expression “you’ve got to lose a final before you win one.”

What was an attempt to console Van Doren after his team had to settle for the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics only served to make his blood boil. But the 26-year-old defender, twice named hockey’s Player of the Year, begrudgingly admits there might be a modicum of truth to it.

He and his team-mates have bounced back from the disappointment of a 4-2 loss to Argentina in the gold medal match to win the World Cup two years later and will start the 12-team Tokyo Olympics tournament as favourites.

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“I found that annoying but there is a little bit of truth in it. Losing acquires a bit more hunger, it pushes you to train and work a little bit harder and I think we acquired some experience from…

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