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Updated: February 27, 2012 02:59 IST

Olympic dream lives again

Y.B. Sarangi
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India's Sandeep Singh celebrates with Shivendra Singh after scoring a goal during the Olympic qualifier Hockey match against France at National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu
India's Sandeep Singh celebrates with Shivendra Singh after scoring a goal during the Olympic qualifier Hockey match against France at National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: S. Subramanium

The methodical approach and the rock solid self-belief of the Michael Nobbs-coached Indian hockey team finally paid off as the side capped its chain of sterling performances in the Olympic qualifier with a thumping 8-1 win over France in the final.

The title victory at the National Stadium here on Sunday not only ensured the return of the Indian team to the Olympics after the 2004 Athens Games, but also healed the wounds of the four-year-old ‘Chile horror' when the country had failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 80 years.

It also helped lessen the home fans' disappointment arising out of the women team's failure in making the trip to London.

The Indian players exulted in joy and gathered in a victory huddle when the clock completed its 70-minute countdown. It was a relief of lifetime for the six current players — Bharat Chetri, V.R. Raghunath, Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandker, Sardar Singh and Ignace Tirkey — who were part of India's failed attempt to make the Olympics in 2008.

Sandeep Singh netted five goals, including his second hat-trick of the tournament, while Birendra Lakra, S.V. Sunil and V.R. Raghunath found the mark to record the superb victory in front of thousands of Tricolour-waving spectators.

Simon Martin-Brisac was the lone scorer for the runner-up team. France had already exceeded its expectations by making the final at the expense of the higher-ranked Canada.

In the action-packed first period, India overcame stiff resistance from the fast moving Frenchmen to pump in two spectacular goals in quick succession. Lakra completed a superb cross from Manpreet Singh on the right with a blazing reverse hit to open the account in the 17th minute.

The second goal came in dramatic circumstances with Shivendra Singh, pushed inside the French circle, successfully appealing for a penalty corner through video referral and Sandeep accomplishing the task with his trademark drag-flick.

France pulled one back through a surprise move as Sebastian Jean-Jean's on-the-run shot was deflected in by Martin-Brisac with his back to the Indian goal.

Sandeep scored from the host's third short corner and India kept its two-goal lead intact at the break with another successful referral which snatched away a penalty corner awarded to France, which built immense pressure on the host's defence with some fierce counter-attacks.

Sandeep converted the third consecutive penalty corner to make it 4-1 in the 38th minute. Led by a brilliant P.R. Sreejesh under the bar, India thwarted four penalty corners in a row.

Several bouts of frayed tempers and tough tackles from the Frenchmen could not stop the home forwards from going on a rampage and snuffing life out of the opposition.

Sandeep scored two more goals to complete his rare feat of five goals in a final. With 16 goals in the event, he emerged as the top scorer of the tournament.

Canada beat Poland 4-3 to take the third place, while Italy thrashed Singapore 5-0 for the fifth position.

The results:

Final: India 8 (Birendra Lakra 17; Sandeep Singh 19, 26, 38, 49, 51; S.V. Sunil 43; V.R. Raghunath 56) bt France 1 (Simon Martin-Brisac 24).

Third place playoff: Canada 4 (Ken Pereira 4, 51; Rob Short 27; Matt Guest 41) bt Poland 3 (Artur Mikula 9; Szymon Oszyjczyk 28; Bartosz Zywiczka 52).

Fifth place playoff: Italy 5 (Daniele Malta 28; Andrea Corsi 33; Agustin Nunez 42; Ignacio Salas 47, 58) bt Singapore 0.

Final standings: 1. India, 2. France, 3. Canada, 4. Poland, 5. Italy, 6. Singapore.

More In: Hockey | Sport

There is too much euphoria around qualifying.. We should not forget this is where we actually belong.. We were 8 time olympic champions and we taught Australia how to play hockey in the mid 60s..

from:  Ryan
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 22:18 IST

Wow! what a victory for our national sport. I hope media catches on to this and gives Hockey the much needed attention and airtime.

from:  DR
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 21:38 IST




Full marks to the Indian Hockey Team for having won all the fixtures, hands down in Delhi! The lion's share,however,goes to Sandeep for having converted five short-corners into five goals! It is hoped that the team will not dishearten its viewers,in London,India & the world over during its London Olympics tenure.Having direct bearing,it is pertinent to point out that a couple of players retain the stopped ball a little too long ; at times fail to make it a dead stop.Wish the 'Drag Technique' works well with Sandeep in London too.God bless Indian Hockey Team & hope do earn the laurels of the spectators,as well as home a Medal!

from:  avtar chauhan
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 19:50 IST

Great Show team india... Keep it up ! time now to regroup and work out on your weakness for a even better show at the olympics.

From Kenya.

from:  Inderjit
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 19:29 IST

I want to have a fund of janta hockey fund of Rs 12 crore for hockey players; keep locked boxes on common places for the janta to donate not less than re 1 each (maximum ones choice) and each evening the donations counted and deposited in a bank (collected and how much more needed to make it 12 crore is written on the boxes daily). And they win or lose should be given that amount on return from London.

from:  aruna
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 17:35 IST

Thank God. Now the television Channels & newspapers can write about
INDIA Hockey instead of the private club (BCCI) cricket team(so called
Indian Team does not legally exist)

from:  cheenu
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 16:46 IST

Well done to the indian hockey team. You have made every indian where ever we may be proud. Remember only now have your jorney started and its a tough one to your final destination, which is a podium finish at the London olympics. We have faith in you. Jai Hind.

Selvadurai Dason, Malaysia






from:  selvadurai dason
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 16:27 IST

Congratulations indian hockey team on this wonderful achievement.

from:  prashant priyadarshi
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 16:00 IST

Congratulations to the Indian Hockey Team for having qualified for the Olympics. You have brought back India on the World Map of Hockey.

from:  Carlton Lazaro
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 14:42 IST

Congrats Indian Hockey Team. Wonderful performance. All the best to bring back the Olympic Gold back.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 14:12 IST

I don't understand why Hockey is our national sport. Is it because we
were good at it during the time of Indian Independence that we decided
to nominate hockey as our national sport? I am not saying cricket should
be our national sport, but why hockey? And do we actually need a
national sport? Anyway, good game by the Indian Hockey team. Brilliant
to watch it on TV.

from:  Sadhan
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 12:39 IST

its great performance by the Indian hockey team, it led rejoice all over the nation. thanks

from:  rajasekhar
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 12:08 IST

Chak De Chake De India!! Time 4 Hockey to revive its lost glory. At d same time it's time 4 Athletics, Tennis n other sports.. we need Olympic gold nt mere qualification, Govt. listen it's high time U stop sharing ur pie 4m Cric n IPL.. n last but nt d least, Don't Forget FOOTBALL.... WE R SIMPLY CRAZY........

from:  Abhik
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 12:03 IST

We have done what is expected out of us by qualifying for Olympics.I
hope India enters the semifinals in London Olympics. Beyond that,
anything would be a bonus!

from:  Sumal S
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 11:30 IST

Congrats to the Team. Wonderful effort to come back so hard. For the people making mockery of Cricket team, please remember the moments the cricket team has given us when they had won the world cup. Its a tough phase for them, I am sure they will come back hard. Anyways, its time to celebrate the hockey teams joy. All the best for Olympics. Jai Hind!

from:  Naveen Patil
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 11:18 IST

It is a big comfort to know Indian Hockey team is winning ranks 1st in the tournament and will participate in the London Olympics when Indian cricket team is losing in all the format and whitewashed in down under.It is so pathetic to watch the way the team India plays cricket in Australia.
All the players have made millions of dollars in IPL and from the sponsorship, they have no passion to play the game.High time some of them retire and sit at home.
Ravi

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 11:16 IST

Great Job Team India and special mention to Sandeep Singh. ALL THE VERY BEST FOR OLYMPICS.

Cricket sponsors, please wake up and look around. It's high time you really look around and get some return on your investment. :) Hope you get it.

from:  Prabakaran
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 11:13 IST

Thanks to Indian hockey team, they made us proud. I o pray to god that coming Olympic will be a great year for all Indian.

from:  SUJAY BASAK
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 10:59 IST

congratulations to indian team

from:  sonu
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 10:44 IST

Believe in youth and We misunderstood Greg Chappel who was trying to bring Youth in cricket team but Micchael Nobbs has similar approach but results have started coming even though trend was started by Jose Brasa i hockey. I think coaching staff has to be commended. I hope the players do not bring their ego to field as their esteemed cricketers seem to be doing. Leave the egos at home and be physically and mentally fit and bring the glory home for both teams.

from:  Jatinder Singh
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 10:33 IST

It's better to watch Hockey than Cricket.

from:  jithin
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 10:16 IST

"Playing Overseas" - will it make an impact on Indian Hockey team too ???
anyway its a proud moment to be a part in London Olympics !!

from:  Sam Junofer
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 10:03 IST

Go team India! Go! The whole nation is behind you

from:  Deepan
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:59 IST

Congratulations to the Hockey Team for bringing some relief in the time of Indian Cricket team losing its sheen and losing one match after the other.

from:  Sushil Kumar
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:55 IST

Congratulations indian hockey team on this wonderful achievement.May you reach greater heights of success

from:  krishnan
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:54 IST

Excellent performance by Indian hockey team! Miserable show by multi billionaire cricket show masters! Indians wake up from your slumber
and throw your weight and cheers behind the the team bringing laurels
to the country.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:52 IST

Hearty congratulations to Indian team.

from:  MOHAMED ALI
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:47 IST

The coach factor is major plus here. India being good in field needs strategic approach. Congrats my beloved players for a win. I hope we will win a medal in Olympics. My prayers are with all the players.

from:  lawyerjourno
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:35 IST

the time has come to divert our attention from only cricket to other sports like hockey, badminton,tenis, football e.t.c.we our nation to recognised for its multi talented skills.

from:  surajit das
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:29 IST

Chak De India....... Jai Hind!

from:  Bibin Babu
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:29 IST

excellent India

from:  gopi
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:28 IST

Congratulations Team India......The Journey to regain World Supremacy has just begun....All the best.....

from:  Abdul Moyeed
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:09 IST

Chak De India

from:  Pushp Raj Singh
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 09:03 IST

Very happy to see this success of Indian Hockey Team, Hope this will give importance to our national sport and also create spirit among the youth of our country.
Cheer India...and Sandeep singh who is has been fabulous in this series.

from:  A Sunil Kumar
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 08:44 IST

Hockey is our national game and pride of India. Instead of supporting
the pathetic game of cricket played by the well known losers which is so
much commercialized, we should make efforts to restore the old pride of
the game which is missing since 1980 Olympics.

from:  harish
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 07:56 IST

Congrats to the team ...hope to see them win the Gold in London !

from:  Sandeep Bhat
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 07:42 IST

Well done. Hope to see an even better performance at London. Atleat a medal, if not the gold. Best wishes for a good preparation towards it.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 06:19 IST

Indian Hockey has seen a lot of ups and downs but that is how one
evolves in life....
Best wishes to team India for all their future pursuits And may you
bring glory to the nation......

from:  Praffulit Bisht
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 02:59 IST

Heartiest Congratulations to the team on qualifying for the Olympics.
In a cricket dominated country such Tour De Force in sports like Hockey
will provide a vindication for their existence. I strongly hope the team
does well in the Olympics and makes our country proud. This should be a
breakthrough for the sport which, from now on should see huge revenues
flowing into it. Well done guys!

from:  Harinarayanan Jayaraman
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 02:55 IST

Congratulations guys on the qualification. You are back where you
belong!

I hope the sponsors divert part of their funds from cricketing excesses
to deserving sports like hockey.

from:  Srini
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 02:29 IST

what India could not achieve in Cricket, scaled the new heights in Hockey.
Kudos to Indian Hockey Team. Now Indian Govt. and Hockey Federation should think of giving higher reward to them in terms of cash and honour.

from:  k r renganathan
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 01:25 IST

Thats it.. I am quitting as a cricket fan, forever, and becoming a
hockey fan...

from:  KS
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 01:23 IST

congrats to indian team

from:  shivan
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 00:56 IST

This is great stuff from India but of course taking on Australia, Holland, Germany, Spain in the Olympics will be a different matter. But they have given us something to cheer about unlike the Losers in Blue - the cricket team which has lurched from one disaster to another since Summer 2011. It is high time we cheered the hockey team to glory and gave a cold shoulder to the millionaires in flannels who let us down time and time again. If the hockey team had 5% of the resources available to the cricket team, they would go places.

from:  CB Spry
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 00:54 IST

Its time to celebrate Hockey and give it the attention it rightfully needs as India's national game. Cricket should be discouraged and not be worshipped as a religion.

from:  CT
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 00:47 IST

Good to see, our national game shining

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 00:31 IST

It's time we give more importance to these REAL heroes instead of those
cricketers

from:  john
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 00:19 IST

SAHARA should go all out to support this Hockey team in all possible
ways so that the players are well taken care of in terms of good food,
comfortable stay, sports gear and ofcourse financial benefits for their
families so that they can give their best in London olympics.

from:  kare s
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 00:13 IST

After a long time our national sport colors are out in world.It gives
immense pleasure and spirit.We now want an Olympic gold medal so Team
India put your wings on fire.

from:  jitendra vaishnav
Posted on: Feb 27, 2012 at 00:02 IST

India back on track. But with having played against lesser ranked teams in this tournament, the team and Coach Nobbs should take the negatives too and prepare themselves thoroughly for the Olympics. Go India! Go!
Having said that, the media also has a responsibility now to showcase more of the sports(after all, its our national sport and we were the Giants of the game once upon a time). We are slowly getting back on track and the team would benefit if the media and especially esteemed papers like yourself keep posting news about the sports.
All the Best for each of the players for their journey ahead!

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:51 IST

We are proud of all of you....let us go on to win in London.

from:  Thommy Kodenkandath
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:32 IST

Congratulations Team India! Olympic Gold medal is the next goal.

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:26 IST

Congratz guys and congrats my fellow Indians. The most successful Hockey team in
the Olympics history is to get back there to write the history again! That's
WhatReallyMatters!

from:  Rahul Gupta
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:26 IST

Come On India. Great Victory.

from:  Subash.N.P.
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:26 IST

retrieving the lost glory.
chak de INDIA.

from:  dr kkp
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:19 IST

Go India go! What a way to grab Olympics berth! Wish Indian media
give importance to Hockey too? It's a pity that there was no live
coverage/update of the match by Indian channels when it is so-called
National game of India.

I hope someone listens to this


from:  Prashanth Suravajhala
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:14 IST

Jai ho India

from:  Sumesh Soman
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:14 IST

Indeed, it was a very comprehensive win by India. I would like to
congratulate Indian team for making it to finals specially Sandeep for
great display. If we take into the our past performances and our
inability to kill off smaller teams then this match shows that our
team has progressed well. But, it is still a long way to go if we want
to be force in world hockey again. We were again lacking in our
conversion of field goals. We missed many chances though it was
heartening to see that we were creating a lot of chances. If we can
improve our finishing, we will provide good competition to other
superior teams from Europe and Asia-Pacific.

from:  Vinay Yadav
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:13 IST

Congrats ! Team India.. Chak De India.

from:  Santhosh
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 23:01 IST

Congratulations Team India!!You shown a tremendous game today. We
cherish this win and We are with you for Olympics Mission!!

from:  Ram Mohan
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:57 IST

Fantastic! Well done India.

from:  shaista salim
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:41 IST

congrats to the indian hockey team.and a special mention for sandeep singh who was clearly the superstar.maybe this win will make the people pay more attention to our national game.hope this is the start of rise of indian hockey once again in history.all the best for the olympics.

from:  sk
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:38 IST

india rocks

from:  aman
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:39 IST

Congrats to All. The deserving win... Great.....Indian Hockey Team..

from:  Daljeet Singh
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:36 IST

Great game! I have high hopes from the hockey team. Keep the pot boiling!

from:  ranbeer
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:34 IST

congrats team India and best of luck for London Olympics

from:  Simran Singh
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:34 IST

Now comes the real test..The team is on a high..
I appeal to the team to perform respectfully
at Olympics which we all know they are capable of...

from:  utpal
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:28 IST


Congratulations. Well played Team India.

from:  Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:27 IST

Hearty congratulations to the Indian Team Keep it up Your goal is gold in London You hockeymen were Cinderellas of Indian Sports
getting no incentive unlike your cricket counterparts Sahara is now your saviour My thanks to Sahara also

from:  Ram
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:26 IST

Go India. Hockey team has vastly improved. All credit should go to
Michael Nobbs. It's been fantastic journey right from Champions
Challenge. Unfortunately they missed out against Belgium. Other
sports have to replicate their performance, especially Soccer.If
they keep this performance, they can definetly go past the group
stages in London. Waiting to see Arjun Halappa to come back.
Somwarpet Sunil played very well apart from Sardara and Sandeep.
Chak de India.

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:22 IST

Sandeep Singh has struggled a lot... his career ran into trouble when he got shot by accident... he came back and proved himself..

from:  Mahesh J
Posted on: Feb 26, 2012 at 22:20 IST
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