The Indian Men’s Hockey team, are all set to acquire the once-coveted title of being an Olympic winner. While India has been the team with the most number of golf medals in Olympic history, the record belongs to the previous teams’ illustrious, glorious and distant past.
The Indian men’s hockey team are considered as Olympic medal hopefuls every time they participate in the Games, mainly because of the rich history of the sport. India is, after all, the most successful field hockey team at the Olympics. However this time, the medals hopefuls look like genuine medal contenders, owing to their strong performances in the recent past.
The Indian men’s hockey team qualified for the Rio Olympics back in 2014, when they beat Pakistan in the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon to earn a direct Olympics berth.
They are medal hopefuls because of their recent wins in the past, and also for their good teamwork and strong performances, which might get further encouraged under the new captaincy of PR Sreejesh. It was under the keeper’s (Sreejesh) leadership that Indian won the silver medal at the Blue Riband six-nation Champions Trophy in 2016.
Their biggest strength, therefore, will be unity and team spirit, as has been evident from their recent medal-winning performances.
In 2014, they had clinched the Commonwealth silver, losing to Australia in the final. In the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India won the bronze after beating South Korea. In the same event, they won the silver the following year, losing to Australia in the ultimate match. The pattern was repeated at the 2016 Champions Trophy as well, where India lost the final to Australia in June this year.
These performances have raised hopes from the new look unit, if not burdening them with expectations. With the help of certain experienced players, such as, PR Sreejesh, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, SK Uthappa, VR Raghunath, Danish Mujtaba and SV Sunil, which formulated the 2012 Olympic squad, they do have certain advantage.
The men’s hockey team may not be the outright favorites for a Gold medal after 36 years, but they are sure to improve on their 12th place showing at the 2012 London Games. After winning the gold in 1980, Indian hockey has not reached such heights in the Olympics. Do we see this current lot taking us back to the glory days of hockey?
Defender Sushila Chanu will lead the 16-member Women’s hockey team at the Olympic Games to be held at Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21. The entire squad under the leadership of new captain Sushila, are going to play and represent India for the first time at the Games. The Women’s team includes the experience of Deepika, Sunita Lakra, Sushila, Namita Toppo and Deep Grace Ekka in the defense.
This will be the first time in 36 years that Indian women’s hockey team will be participating at the Olympic Games, after stellar show at the Hockey World League Semifinals in 2015, which indeed is a historic moment for the entire squad.
During the summer of 2015, the team hosted the Round 2 of the 2014–15 Women’s FIH Hockey World League and finished on top to qualify for the next stage. At the World League Semifinals held in Antwerp the team finished in the fifth place beating higher ranked Japan in classification match. The Indian woman’s national field hockey team has thus qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics for the first time since the 1980 Summer Olympics.
It’s the very first time that India Women’s hockey team is all set to make a representation. The team constitutes of hand-picked players who played incredibly well in the past and currently possess great form for the games, and are indeed touted to make the entire country proud.
Here’s wishing both the teams all the luck, so that they can bring the Olympic pride back to the national sport of our country and reinstate the glorious days.