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Aug 26

Written by: Sundeep Misra
Friday, August 26, 2011 

If IHF President RK Shetty, KPS Gill, Hockey India secretary Narinder Batra and the sports minister Ajay Maken are not too busy, they could just take a look at the European Hockey Championships and if they know the Olympic Qualifying process, they would immediately understand that India’s passage to 2012 London just got tougher.

Belgium, incidentally who also qualified for Beijing 2008 beating Germany have now become the official dragon slayer on the European continent. In the match to decide who finishes 2nd in the Pool, they beat Spain 3-2. Belgium had conceded a lead of 0-2 at the break but scored thrice to triumph and qualify for London.

In other words, India’s job gets tougher as some of these teams would end up in our qualifying zone. At the moment the road to London seems a little blurred. Apart from Spain, we could also have South Korea, Argentina or Canada flying down to Delhi in February for the qualifiers. And let’s not forget that lurking behind the scenes are China and Malaysia. We lost in the semi-finals to Malaysia at Guangzhou in the Asian Games. China will always remain a threat especially when it comes to counter-attacking and scoring off set-pieces.

While speaking to an official in one of the hockey federations (There are two!), he said, “Not many are even looking at the Olympic Qualifiers.” On a rather gloomy note, he added, “We also know we cannot qualify with all the ruckus and chaos in the system. But if Nobbs pulls a rabbit out of the hat, it will be a miracle.”

Miracles don’t happen in world sport. Even to make a miracle happen, you need to work hard not destroy a sport like the both the federations are doing. Michael Nobbs may plan an entire strategy to make India qualify but he needs support. After a few months in the saddle, he may have just changed his views on Indian hockey.


1 comment(s) so far...

Re: Olympic qualifying just got tougher

I feel really sad for Nobbs. How can one coach the Indian hockey team when the federations fight, when players walk off before the tournament, when matches are not telecast, and so on. I am an optimist and never give up but I can clearly see that Olympic qualification is very, very tough. At some point, Nobbs may quit too.

Even in Asia, there are four teams that can beat us. At least six continental teams can beat us, and I am not talking of a bad day in the office. I feel sad for Harendra, Pargat, Dhanraj and all the others. They all mean well. But the system is rotten and is larger than all of them put together.

We may finally end up looking for a podium finish at the SAF games.

Jai Hind!
It is also very easy to stem the rot. I also cannot understand why it is not being done.

By Rajendar Menen on   Saturday, August 27, 2011

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