Olympics hockey debacle: Why India fared poorly

Date: 11 Aug 2012


..Olympics hockey debacle: Why India fared poorly\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Pitted against far superior teams, the eight-time gold winners looked a pathetic lot against their more athletic rivals. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Fri 10 Aug, 2012.......\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ ..BANGALORE: Indian hockey team's Olympics nightmare will soon end when they take on South Africa to play for the wooden spoon - the 11th or 12th position. This was an Olympics of shame for Indian hockey as the team plummeted to defeat after defeat, ending with the dubious distinction of finishing last in their group after losing all five matches. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ This is India's worst showing in the Olympics, surpassing in shame the eighth place in Atlanta 1996. Pitted against far superior teams, the eight-time gold winners looked a pathetic lot against their more athletic rivals. Here's a look at the main factors that led to the debacle: \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Ranked 10th in the world, nobody expected a miracle from India but the way they went down without a fight came as a shocker to even the most hardcore pessimists. The misfiring Indian forwardline made the opposition's task easy. Shivendra Singh was the worst offender as he missed a series of chances from favourable angles. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ While Sardar Singh worked hard, the rest of the players fumbled. When more than 50 per cent of the moves are sculpted by one player - Sardar Singh - it is obvious the other seniors are not pulling their weight. Sandeep Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurbaj Singh and Tushar Khandker have some tough questions to answer when they get back. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Lack of finishing in front of goals and leaking easy defensive goals proved to be costly for the team. The forwards had ample oppurtunity to score with 30-40 penetrations into the opposition circle per game but most of the shots went abegging and our once-feared penalty corner battery was reduced to a mere whimper with shots barely making the goal line. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Some would even say that the government is responsible for the miserable performance since it does not spend enough on the sport. That may be true to some extent, but then when we won those eight golds, six on the trot from 1928 to 1956, there was hardly much State support to talk of. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The current depressing scenario of the Indian hockey team only serves to highlight misplaced expectations and hopes generated by all the hype and hoopla after qualifying for the Olympics in February.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ This team was clearly not cut out for a top class tournament like the Olympics as in the run up to the mega event the team did not get a chance to play against quality oppositions. The only tounament they played before the event were the Test matches in which they failed miserably. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ When it comes to fitness, the team too scored poorly as the players were not ready physically or mentally. Though there were talks before the event that the team was fit enough to compete at the highest level but when it came to the real show it was evident that the team was underprepared and lacked the mental strength to mount a comeback after losing the first two matches. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The failure to qualify for the 2008 Games after the defeat to Britain in the final in the qualifier at Santiago, Chile, was a massive blow as it denied India any opportunity to play the top teams. Absence from the elite list hurt Indian hockey like never before and this was obvious in the manner in which the team played. The Indians never looked like they belonged to the big league and appeared unsettled at best of times, letting in soft goals and unable to score themselves.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ There were rumours that a suggestion by Nobbs a few days back that some of the senior players should no more play for the national team again has upset a section of the players in the team. Added to the murky stand-off between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation, the Olympics debacle bodes tough times for the sport in India, even tougher perhaps than the bottom-scraping days of the past decade. ================================================ 000000000