Indian hockey had touched a new low when it was handed the wooden spoon during the London Olympics last August, but inspirational skipper Sardar Singh feels the summer of discontent is a thing of the past now. “We have left it behind and moved on. After London Olympics, we performed well at the world’s best tournament, Champions Trophy and finished fourth... ” Sardar told an interview. “The players did well and their hard work paid rich dividends. We defeated world’s best teams, New Zealand, England and Belgium in the tournament. In the Asian trophy, we were unlucky as poor umpiring cost us the final against Pakistan other wise we would have won it,” he added.
Reflecting on the London Games, Sardar said: “It was disappointing and hurt us… We practiced day in day out. The team members were away from their homes and spent most of the time on the astro turf. The one month camp in Spain before the Games, we played four-nation and three-nation tournaments and the world’s best teams were there. We performed well in those particular tournaments. We were unlucky that when Olympics started and barring our first match, we did not perform well in the next matches,” Sardar said.
Where it went wrong
For Sardar, the script went awfully wrong at the London Games because of three reasons — man-to-man marking was not up to the mark, players weren’t aggressive in the ‘D’ and ball trapping was missing.
The disastrous Olympics campaign saw the axing of experienced players such as captain Bharat Chetri, drag-flicker Sandeep Singh, fullback Ignace Tirkey, forwards Tushar Khandker and Shivendra Singh. “…Sometimes, it happens when you fail to perform at a particular tournament,” he added. However, Sardar, who will be seen dribbling the stick for Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League (HIL) beginning on Monday, exuded hope that the senior players will soon stage a comeback through some strong showing in the domestic league.PTI