Tag Archives: Olympics

Indian hockey team is a potential podium finisher at the Tokyo Olympics: Former Captain Gurbux Singh

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Former captain Gurbux Singh feels that the current Indian hockey team is a potential podium finisher at the Tokyo Olympics.

Writing for Hockey India’s Flashback Series, the veteran defender who has an Olympic Gold from 1964 and a Bronze from 1968 said that he feels sad that India hasn’t made the semi- finals since 1980 Olympics.

 “We haven’t had a semi- final berth in almost four decades. I was there in Sydney to watch the match; we lost a great chance when we drew with Poland. Same thing happened in Los Angeles when we couldn’t get a draw or a win against Germany.

” But I think this time we have a great chance. This team has been doing well against all teams and I hope and pray they go beyond the quarter finals,” .

Now 58 years after that epic Gold medal winning feat in Tokyo, the Manpreet Singh-led squad will play in the same city this summer Olympics and Gurbux Singh believes the team is capable of recreating that historic podium finish. aid, 

“I wish them all the luck; they have been doing really well in the last few years. They are capable of winning in Tokyo. I think for me, as the current India Coach has said, the first target should be the quarter final. In the past years, I think after the 80s especially, we have been so near and yet so far away from a medal.

About the weather , he opined that humid weather in Tokyo should not hamper India’s chances. 

“When we played the Olympics in Tokyo, it was in the month of October, and it wasn’t as humid but there was some rain.

” It was India and Pakistan who would end up having issues when it rained because we were never used to playing in the slush, but European countries were used to playing in the rain. However, this time the conditions in Tokyo will be challenging for European teams but it should not be an issue for India,”

Recalling the the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games where India beat arch nemesis Pakistan 1-0 in the Final.he said “I still remember, the Final was delayed because the Bronze medal match between Spain and Australia went into extra time and then sudden death. 

“We were all warmed-up and waiting, as usual, there was so much tension that we were using the rest room every ten minutes. One could see players from both Pakistan and India were going up and down the dressing room,” .

He opined that the pressure was on the Pakistanis as they were the defending Champions. “I believe they were more nervous than us. India didn’t have anything to lose but the crown was at stake for them. 

Few minutes into the match there was a bit of a scuffle between Asad Malik and Prithipal Singh , and the match got delayed a little. 

“There was some exchange of words before the match commenced again. After that interruption, the match was cool and there was no problem.”

In front of a packed stadium , India took the lead in the 41st minute of the match through a penalty stroke scored by Mohinder Lal. 

“We missed a few good chances when Haripal Kaushik slipped at the point of scoring and then Prithipal had a penalty corner in the second half, shot hit their left full back Munir Dar on the foot and we got a penalty stroke. Mohinder Lal scored that goal. 

The last five minutes Pakistan played really well and for us, goalkeeper Shankar Laxman saved two corners.”

“The last few minutes felt like the longest hours, it felt as though the clock had stopped. Finally, when the last whistle was blown, people from the galleries like Milkha Singh, Raja Karni Singh and the whole Indian contingent jumped into the ground and started doing bhangra,” recalled Gurbux who led the team to the Gold in the Asian Games in 1966.

“But honestly at that stage I did not feel any excitement. When you are looking for that particular moment for years and finally it happens, everything is drained out of you, and it takes some time for it to sink in.

” It was only when the Indian flag went up, the national anthem was played, and tears rolled down my cheeks. I think that occasion it set in that we had actually won,” he added

HSB

Golf: Anirban Lahiri makes the cut, will play his second successive Olympics

Harpal Singh Bedi 

Anirban Lahiri Photo © Arep Kulal/Asian Tour/Asian Tour via Getty Images

New Delhi: Luck smiled on Anirban Lahiri as the Indian professional booked the last berth available for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after he was placed 60th in the Final Olympic Golf Rankings list .

The men’s golf event in the Games will feature 60 players and will be played at the Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29 – August 1.

The top-15 world-ranked players are eligible for the Olympics, with a limit of four players from a given country. Beyond the top-15, players are eligible based on the world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top-15. The host country is guaranteed a spot, as is each of the five continents of the Olympics.

“Making it to the Olympics has been a pleasant surprise. It’s a little bit of a shock I would say as I knew that I hadn’t done enough to qualify for the Olympics. I’m overjoyed and so is my family. When I was having breakfast this morning, I wasn’t in the Olympics, now I am. ” the golfer told Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

The Bengaluru based golfer whose current world ranking is 340, was on the reserve list, being a third reserve at best for many players, till Tuesday when the updated Olympic Golf Ranking was published. Thereafter, with a number of withdrawals, Anirban, who has appeared at 16 Majors, managed to make the cut-off for the Olympics.

“To be honest, after getting the good news I had to think about whether I will compete at the Olympics as a lot of other factors are involved including my full recovery from Covid and my current position on the FedEx Cup standings.” he said

 “I was down with severe symptoms of Covid in late April and early May and was even admitted to the Emergency Room at a hospital for about three hours. Even after recovering from Covid, I have been feeling its after-effects. So, I have to manage my workload for some time now.” he said adding “I also have a lot of work to do to retain my card on the PGA Tour as I’ve not had a great season so far.

“So, to play the Olympics I have to plan my schedule and travel and also figure out a lot of logistics. But finally, it was a quick and easy decision in favour of playing the Olympics as one doesn’t get such fortune for no reason. I cherish every opportunity of representing India and would never give up a chance like this. The gods are definitely smiling on me.Now that I’ve qualified, I also need to prepare well for Tokyo in order to be at my best during the event.”

India’s Udayan Mane is now a first reserve for several players. If there are withdrawals by some specific players over the next couple of weeks, there is a possibility that Udayan too may earn his berth at the Olympics.

Aditi Ashok is expected to represent India in the women’s golf event as she is currently placed 44th in the Olympic Golf Rankings. Like Anirban, Aditi too had turned out for India at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 60-player field for the women’s competition will be announced on 29th June.

Once the women’s Olympic Golf Rankings are finalized, the International Golf Federation (IGF) will send confirmation of the men’s and women’s quota places to the National Olympic Committees. 

The NOCs will then confirm use of allocated quota places to the IGF by July 1 and the IGF, in turn, will reallocate all unused quota places before the Tokyo 2020 Sport Entries Deadline on July 5.

HSB

Ace striker Rani will lead Indian Women’s Hockey team for 2nd consecutive Games

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Ace striker Rani Rampal on Thursday was retained to lead the Indian Women’s hockey team for the second successive Olympics as she was named captain of the 16-member squad for the Tokyo Games.

The Games are scheduled from 23rd July to 6th August in Tokyo.

The squad includes eight experienced veterans while eight players will be making their Olympic debut for Team India. 

Besides Rani Rampal, who also led India at Rio Games, seven others ,Savita, Deep Grace Ekka, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Navjot Kaur and Vandana Katariya also represented the country at the historic appearance of the Women’s team at the Olympic Games after a gap of 36 years. These eight players have a total of 1,492 caps between them for Team India.

The eight Olympic debutants include drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Nisha, Neha, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Lalremsiami – who is the first player hailing from Mizoram in the team and Salima Tete – who led the team at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires to a silver medal performance,.  

This will be the Women’s team’s third appearance at the Olympic Games and their second consecutive outing, with previous appearances coming in 1980 and 2016.

Since Rio 2016, the team has experienced the highs of winning the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy, 2017 Asia Cup, the Silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games and making it to the Quarter Finals of the 2018 Women’s World Cup for the first time in history.

Commenting on the team selection, Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said, “This team has worked very hard over the last few years and has made progress consistently. 

There’s a good mix of experienced players and new talent, which is excellent. We look forward to taking on the best in the world in Tokyo. This is a team with a lot of potential and drive which we hope to channelise to our best performance yet.” the coach added

Goalkeepers; Savita

Defenders; Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur, Udita.

Midfielders: Nisha, Neha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Nanjot Kaur, Salima Tete.

Forwards; Rani, Navneet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Vandana Katariya, Sharmila, Devi.HSB

India will be one of the strongest contenders for a medal at the Games: Former Hockey Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans

Harpal Singh Bedi


 

DUSSELDORF India Practice Matches Germany v India Picture: Harmanpreet Singh © FRANK UIJLENBROEK

New Delhi:  Going by the current form and recent performances against strong sides ,Indian (men) hockey team has a very good chance of podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics feels former Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans 

According to Oltmans, if the players remain focused and determined then India will be one of the strongest contenders for a medal at the Games 

The Dutchman was Chief Coach of the Indian team that reached the Quarter Final stage in the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

In a conversation with Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series initiated by Hockey India he said that the team has made headway since then and emphasized that mental toughness will be a deciding factor for any team to succeed in Tokyo. 

“For me, the India is among the top five contenders to win a medal in Tokyo. The team has shown good consistency in competing with the best teams in the world over the last two years.

“India has already shown they can beat teams like Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands. However, doing it at the Olympics will be a different matter. The decisive factor when you are trying to win such a tournament is the mentality of the team. 

‘You cannot panic if you are behind in a game or get overexcited when you are ahead. You have to be in control of each situation,” Oltmans opined.. 

The veteran coach was of the view that the weather conditions in Tokyo will be another key factor as it is expected to be high on humidity during the Olympics.

“In terms of physical fitness all the top teams in the world are at the same level so no team has an obvious advantage, but the weather conditions will be more favourable for India as they are used to that type of climate. The weather will definitely be harsher for the European teams, and they will have to adjust to it.” 

“Preparing the team to secure a medal in the Tokyo Olympics was always the main objective since I joined as High-Performance Director at Hockey India in 2013, and then became Chief Coach of the Men’s Team in 2015. 

“India has made progress in that regard with their current standing, and Hockey India has created the conditions for this to happen through its professional setup.

“You need a good development plan, but you also need the resources to execute a plan. Hockey India and SAI have played a big part in creating and executing this plan to develop hockey in India,” he added 
 

HSB