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No quick-fix solutions for India: Oltmans

Special Correspondent
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Roelant Oltmans.—Photo: M. Vedhan
Roelant Oltmans.—Photo: M. Vedhan

Roelant Oltmans, High Performance Director of the Indian hockey (junior, senior men and women) teams, who is here to train the coaches of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu on a four-day workshop, said on Wednesday that India can hope to win a medal at a major International tournament only when it hosts the World Cup in the year 2018.

“Hopefully coach (Terry Walsh) will be there till the 2016 Rio Olympics, and two years later, we (India) will host the men’s World Cup. That might be the first major event where we can win a medal,” said Oltmans, at a press conference.

Patience needed

The 59-year-old former Dutch hockey coach, said it takes enormous patience and time to build a top-notch team, and there are no quick-fix solutions for India.

“On an average it will take 6-8 years for India to make it. We have seen in the past [forty years] from 1975-2013, the big medals haven’t been there.”

On India’s chances in the 2014 men’s World Cup to be held in Hague (The Netherlands), Oltmans said, “It’s (the venue) only 20 minutes from my house. The World Cup is a great event, second best (event) after Olympics.

“It’s a great atmosphere. We are aiming for positions between five and eight. We are looking for gradual progress. Currently we (Indian men’s team) are ranked 11th in the world. Let’s be realistic; we can’t win a medal,” he said.

Oltmans said the performance of the Indian junior men’s and women’s teams after he took over as High Performance Director earlier this year, has been satisfactory, and that the sides are on the right track.

Impressed with players

Arriving from Bhopal after witnessing the Indian men’s team camp, Oltmans said he was very impressed with the players. “There is a lot of talent. You need to develop the talent. We’ve already made some progress,” he said.

He said most of the junior players who are in the camp will be playing in the 2013 junior World Cup to be held in Delhi next month.

He said the tour of Europe in the last one and a half years has done a world of good to the Indian players.

“All the senior and junior men’s and women’s teams went on a tour of Europe (Belgium, Germany, Holland and Scotland). You have to play matches to become a better player,” he said.

On Chennai, he said he had good memories of the city. “It’s nice to be back,” said Oltmans, who was here for the 1996 and 2005 Champions Trophy tournaments.

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