Glorious Past: Hockey is considered as the national game of India which has gone through a great phase in yesteryears winning gold medals at the Olympics. The first Gold medal was won in Olympics was in 1928 From then the Indian team won the Olympics Gold medal 8 times, of which 6 were in succession. India has also silver once and bronze twice.The last Olympic Hockey medal was a bronze in 1972 in Munich . In the last decade the Indian hockey has gone through a bad phase leading to downfall. For the Olympics 2008 in Bejing the Indian team did not even qualify for the first time in the history. India managed to qualify for the London Olympic 2012 but the team finished last. This was the toughest face for Indian Hockey. This was due to lack of coordination between the coaches and the Hockey India.
The Hockey India League which had 2 seasons in 2013 and 2014 has changed the Indian hockey. Many young players showcased their talent in this tournament and have firmed up their position in the Indian senior team.The likes of Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, SV Sunil had participated in that tournament and gained valuable experience with top international players of the World. In 2014 the Indian team finished a disappointing 9th in the World Cup which is a prestigious tournament after Olympics.
Starting July 23 2014 the Indian team performance revivial began in the Commonwealth Games 2014 winning a silver medal losing to Australia in the final match. The recent success came when India defeated Pakistan in Asian games finals on 3 October 2014 and getting a direct entry into the Rio Olympics 2016. This win will act as a boost for Indian hockey. This Asian games win came after 16 years. The Indian played like a unit and is bringing the team back on track. Now they are on the tour of Australia where playing 4 match test series. In the first match of the series Australia defeated the Indians 4-0. In the next match the Indian team played well and scored a win over the defending champions Australia by 2-1. In third match of the series India defeated Australia by 1-0 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. This tour will help the Indian team to analyze their strengths and weakness that they have to work on. Apart from this the Indian team has an opportunity of playing Champions Trophy from 6 December 2014 in which 5 of best teams of the World will participate in tournament. This should also be handy in fine-tuning their skills.
The Indian Junior team which recently won the Under 21 Sultan Johar Cup is also doing well. There were some great performances in the tournament by penalty corner specialist Harmanpreet Singh who scored 9 goals. Apart from him Varun Kumar and Simranjeet singh that exhibited their potential in that tournament. They may be trained with the senior team and before the Olympics and consider to include them to assess if they are worth of getting an entry into the senior team. I am sure that the Indian team will do well in the upcoming matches. The Indian captain Sardar Singh and support staff must help these Indian youngsters to prepare themselves mentally and train hard so that they can do their best Olympics 2016 and bring back the glorious days.