Congratulating the Indian hockey team for its fine display in recent times, former captain Dhanraj Pillay on Tuesday said that they should not end up regretting like he does even now after missing the chance of clinching a medal at the Olympics after four attempts.
“I congratulate the Indian team. They created history as it was the first time that we played in the final of the Champions Trophy against Australia (in London),” Dhanraj told reporters on Tuesday when asked about the team’s performance and its chances at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.
“Winning and losing are part of the game, but they have given a very tough fight (to Australia). When I was playing, I don’t think we played as consistently as they did for 70 minutes (against Australia) although we had beaten them in their own country,” said the four-time Olympian.
India lost 1-3 to Australia via the penalty shoot out in the summit contest, after tying goalless in regular time, to end up with their first silver medal in the annually held tournament that began 36 years ago.
Asked where he felt the team needs to improve to climb the podium at the August 5-21 Olympics, Dhanraj said the players need to be extra sharp in front of goalmouth. “It’s in field goal scoring. You need to be very sharp at the goalmouth. Whatever opportunity you get, you need to convert it 100 percent. Don’t take a chance and don’t regret later as how Dhanraj Pillay is regretting. After playing in four Olympics, I still regret I could not win even one medal for my nation.”
The four-time World Cupper who also who represented the country in four Asian Games, complimented the team for the fitness level it has shown and also gave credit to the team’s Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans.
“With their performance over the last six months at the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament (in Malaysia where they reached the final and then lost to Australia) and in the Champions Trophy they have shown they are on the right track for Rio,” said the 47-year-old one-time mercurial forward.
(Feature image source: Reuters)