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India has high chances to be on the podium in Olympic Hockey, V. Bhaskaran

- July 17, 2021

Chennai, July 16(BPNS)

Padmashri V. Bhaskaran was the former Indian hockey team captain and Team India had won the hockey gold under his captaincy in Moscow Olympics. A decorated coach and an Arjuna award winner, Bhaskaran was a senior Sports official with the Indian Railways prior to his retirement. A highly skilled center-forward for the Indian team in his playing days, V. Bhaskaran is active in Chennai, coaching youngsters and indulging in the management of hockey tournaments and hockey matches before Covid struck. He is actively watching the developments in International hockey. 

V. Bhaskaran spoke to BPNS on the chances of the Indian team in the Toky Olympics.

1: Indian hockey team is playing in Tokyo Olympics, As a winning Indian team captain at the Moscow Olympics and a trained coach, how fair are the chances of our team striking big in the Olympics.

As far as the chances of our team are considered, we deserve to be on the podium as among the 11 other countries which are playing in the Olympics, we are well prepared even with Covid-19. The players are highly motivated and stayed put at Bangalore for a stretch of 9 months prior to the Olympics and that was sheer determination and grit. Sports Authority of India(SAI) and Hockey India have extended all support and help for the well-being of players and their comfort during the training period.

What are your suggestions and advice to the Indian team as a winning captain and a highly talented player and a coach?

Indian team should focus on one game after the other and the first target must be the quarter-finals of the tournament. From the quarter-final stage, things will be different as knockout begins from here. Our main strength is penalty corner conversion and has three specialists in this area, Harmanpreet, Rupinderpal, and Amit Rohitdas. Sreejesh is a highly talented goalkeeper with ample skill and experience as he is playing his 3rd Olympics. Players should stick to their plans and consistent performance from all the players is expected to bring laurels to the country. Team India is a mixture of youth and experience and hence I rate them to be on the podium at any cost.

What according to you must change for Indian hockey to be a world leader?

We need to structure our hockey games like the Club football tournaments in Europe. All the big clubs in Europe have Under 14, Under 16, and Under 18 tournaments, and from these tournaments, talented and skilled players with a lot of hardworking capacities emerge at the senior level. We must be professionals in developing our sports and amateurism and half-baked knowledge are dangerous for sports including hockey.

Do you have any suggestions to create interest among children in hockey and other sports?

A radical change is required at the school level to get talented sportspersons for the country. Sports must not be an extracurricular activity, instead, it must be made compulsory and each child must compulsorily play and participate in 2 games on school days. Even the parents have to be educated regarding the importance of sports for children and here people are stressing more on education rather than sports. Sports must be given equal importance and prominence and if we persist on this, then like China, Japan, and Australia good players will emerge from school days who can be nurtured and groomed into world-class players and sportspersons.

Please share your memories of the Olympics as a player and a coach?

I enjoyed my playing carrier well as well as the later carrier as a hockey coach and my passion is to develop a sports culture in this country. Olympics has given me several fond memories. I met Ken Nortan, Mohammed Ali, Sebastian Coe, Roger Federer, John Mcenroe, and Usain Bolt during my playing days and later as a coach during the Olympics. I had also the opportunity to interact with our own greats like Milkha Singh, Balbir Singh, Dhyan Chand, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Abhinav Bindra, Karnam Malleswari, P.T. Usha, and Shiny Wilson.

What was the greatest point in your sporting carrier?

Winning the Olympic hockey gold for India in Moscow was the biggest moment in my sporting carrier and I expect the Indian parents to be more supportive of sports and to inculcate a sporting culture in their children.