Indian hockey at Tokyo Olympics: The big revival – Cover Story News

Back in 2011, throughout his first stint in Indian hockey, David John was the health coach for the boys’s group. The Australian’s compatriot Michael Nobbs had simply been appointed the group’s coach and had underlined bodily health (or the dearth thereof) as a significant component behind India’s dwindling performances.

Both got down to instil a tradition of bodily transformation among the many Indian gamers to match their European counterparts. Under Nobbs and John, gamers like Sardar Singh and Sandeep Singh dramatically improved their bodily prowess. Yet, world success eluded India. Nobbs was sacked unceremoniously in 2013, as had been many coaches who got here after him. John, too, initially bought the boot, however made a comeback in 2016 because the group’s excessive-efficiency director.

“Indian hockey comes from a different place. A lot of Indian skills have developed because they are not big-bodied like the Europeans”

– Graham Reid, Coach, Indian males’s hockey group

Today, although, as Indian hockey lastly unshackles itself and rises after years of falling brief, Nobbs’ and John’s contribution to the sport in India can’t be missed. What Graham Reid (present males’s hockey coach) and Sjoerd Marijne (present girls’s hockey coach) have carried out in a different way is make the gamers consider in themselves.

One should additionally keep in mind that Indian hockey needed to free itself of the previous-faculty strategies that had taken them to nice heights within the earlier century. A re-training was needed. The Indian girls’s hockey group dropping to Great Britain within the league stage on July 28 was a first-rate instance of the previous methods failing to make an influence. “The old Indian style of hockey doesn’t work anymore. That’s what they did today, kept the ball with them for way too long, and we lost,” coach Marijne mentioned after the 1-4 loss.

However, aside from bodily health, the Indian groups are mentally assured like by no means earlier than. It was seen in the best way the boys’s group got here again to win 5 straight matches after happening by their greatest margin ever (1-7 to Australia) in an Olympic contest. Or the best way the ladies’s group made it to the semi-finals for the primary time after three consecutive losses within the group stage. “The difference is believing in ourselves, and then it’s about going back to reality,” Marijne mentioned after upsetting world No.2 Australia within the quarter finals in Tokyo. “If you lose, you don’t stop believing and that’s what I told the girls.”

The Indian group has been blessed with an ideal mix of youth and expertise. So, together with veterans like P.R. Sreejesh, Rupinderpal Singh and Manpreet Singh, there are newer gamers like Harmanpreet and Dilpreet Singh. On the ladies’s aspect, an skilled Rani Rampal can play her recreation peacefully, totally conscious {that a} younger Lalremsiami at all times has her again.

“Indian hockey comes from a different place. A lot of Indian skills have developed because they are not big-bodied like the Europeans. We have to bridge the gap in strength,” males’s hockey group coach Reid informed the Olympic Channel. “Some of the best in the world are not huge. We have a lot of stick skills and we will continue to use those. We like to pass the ball around and don’t give time to tackle. We have different skills than Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, and that is what is unique about India.”

Another essential issue is the rising clout of Hockey India. The nationwide federation has ensured that Indian gamers get most publicity by bringing in nearly all world hockey competitions to the nation previously few years. Odisha, which can also be the chief sponsor of Indian hockey groups, has now grow to be the hub of worldwide hockey.

In March 2008, Indian hockey had hit a low level when it misplaced to England 2-0, which stored India out of the Beijing Olympics. For the primary time, India didn’t have a hockey group at the Olympics. But, with the boys bringing house bronze and ladies making it to the semi-finals, Tokyo 2020 has marked one other chapter in Indian hockey.

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