Sydney win raises hopes for Indian hockey

After India's win over Australia, former hockey players say this particular Indian team is the one which could do wonders in the Olympics next year.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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New Delhi:

Most people thought that India's one win and one draw against Pakistan would be the highlight of the hockey team's outing in Australia in the two tournaments played over two weeks. However, the win over Australia in the final of the second tournament in Sydney has proved that India could count themselves as serious medal contenders for the Athens Olympics. The Indian hockey team may have been impressive even in their defeat to Australia in the finals of the first leg, but they weren't seriously expected to beat Australia in their own backyard in such a convincing fashion. The team's performance improved as the tournament progressed and it culminated in a 5-3 win over Australia in the final of the second leg. Former hockey players believe this is a positive start for forthcoming tournaments. Former Olympian Ashok Kumar, said, "We still have to qualify for the Champions Trophy and next year's Olympics. This will help improve the team." Former hockey players give a lot of credit for this win to coach Rajinder Singh and hope for a revival of the golden days of Indian hockey. However, they believe that despite the victory, this is also time for the team to introspect on how they can improve themselves. Former Hockey Captain Harbinder Singh, said, "We tend to concede goals in the last 5-10 minutes when there is pressure on us. This has been happening in the past few tournaments. Our team now needs to learn how to handle that pressure." The team management must now look to fine tune the same team without changing its composition too much. It has to maintain the same form and morale going into the Champions Trophy in August this year and the Athens Olympics in 2004.