New Delhi:Sports Minister MS Gill on Monday patted the Indian hockey team for their spirited fight even though they finished second best in the Azlan Shah Hockey tournament, losing 1-2 to Argentina in Malaysia.
Gill said victory and defeat are part and parcel of any game and the Indian team deserves praise for the way it bounced back from back-to-back defeats to reach the final of the tournament after a 12-year gap.
"Though I just returned from Kashmir, I followed their progress in the tournament. I would love to meet the boys when they return," Gill told PTI.
"I congratulate them for putting up a spirited show. My message to them is you have done really well and I am looking forward to meeting you," he said.
The sports minister said he was most impressed by the never-say-die attitude of the squad.
"They lost a couple of matches early in the tournament and still went on to reach the finals after 12 years. It speaks volumes of their fighting spirit.
"In every game someone wins and someone loses but in my eyes, and probably in the country's eyes, they have done really well, so what if they couldn't win this time. I am sure they would definitely win the next tournament," he said.
Gill said he was impressed by the way the Indians hung on in the final match.
"I am impressed by the fight they put up in the final. They kept it levelled 1-1 before finally losing in the extra time."