Former Indian hockey player Dhanraj Pillay said that the current Indian hockey team is right on track to win a medal at Rio Olympics in 2016. The Indian team won the bronze medal at the recently concluded World Hockey League finals in Raipur.
Ajit Pal Singh said that India were pathetic and were lucky to finish with bronze in this tournament. “We are preparing for the 2016 Olympics. The coach too said we would realize where we stand for Rio. And bronze is not bad at all. After a long time, we’ve won against Holland. Even when I was playing, we drew or we lost. In 10 years, I can’t remember the last time we won. We were winning at 5-3, but unfortunately we couldn’t hold on in the last four minutes. But a win in a penalty shootout as such is as good as winning the match,” Pillay added.
The Indian team were leading 5-3 against Netherlands but conceded 2 late goals to equal the score at 5-5 and force into a penalty shootout which was eventually won by India by 3-2. “Everyone talks of the same old habits, but anyone in a desperate situation would stop at nothing. In the final minutes, they knew they were losing by two goals, so they all went up. If their full team is in our half and ‘D’, the opponent is definitely going to feel the pressure,” said the 47-year-old.
The focus for the Indian team is to work harder and win back a medal in the Olympics after a long gap. They must work of not conceding late goals against top teams.
The Indian team lost 2 matches in the group stages. They beat the higher ranked side Great Britain in the quarter-finals before losing in the semifinals to Belgium. The Indian performed brilliantly to defeat ranked 2 side in the world Netherlands to win a medal in an international tournament after 33 years.