Indian men’s hockey team 'the most balanced since Sydney 2000 Olympics’

The former India coach Harendra Singh believes that the current Indian men’s hockey team is a talented bunch with a lot of potential.

By Samrat Chakraborty

Harendra Singh has backed the Indian men’s hockey team for a podium finish at Tokyo 2020, a feat that the country has not achieved since the gold at Moscow 1980 Olympic Games.

At London 2012, India finished at the bottom of the pile in their group having lost all five games whereas five years back at Rio 2016, they lost in the quarterfinals to Belgium.

India were just 106 seconds away from booking a berth in the semi-finals at Sydney 2000 but a late equaliser from Poland crushed their hopes of clinching a medal. Thereafter, at Athens 2004, India hardly made an impression and failed to make the cut for the following edition of Olympics at Beijing in 2008.

Singh pointed that the Indian team is a balanced unit as they have world class players across the field.

“This team have all the potential and fire in their belly for a podium finish. After Sydney 2000, this is the most balanced side where we have a world class goalkeeper, the best drag flicker, excellent defenders with skill, a world class midfield, and a nippy striker. I am sure this team will finish the Games with a medal,” Singh told Olympics.com.

Harendra Singh believes India to earn a podium finish at Tokyo 2020

However, the former India coach had a word of caution for the Indian team as he reiterated the importance of not losing focus and as it is easy to get distracted at the Olympic Village.

“The Olympics is all about keeping compose and focus as so many stars live in the same village. Some players tend to lose their focus which causes a lot of problems in a team sport.

“I am sure our team under coach Graham Reid have understood how important it is to just focus and not get carried away by other teams or athletes at the village,” he mentioned.

India men's hockey team will begin their campaign at Tokyo 2020 with the Pool A match against New Zealand on July 24.