Former India hockey striker Prabhjot Singh believes the national team will end up with a top-six finish at the London Olympics.
World No 10, India are clubbed with the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, South Korea and New Zealand in Group B and begin their campaign against the Netherlands on July 30.
“The pressure at the Olympics is completely different. Our team has many youngsters for whom it is a maiden appearance at the quadrennial event. The first match against Holland will give an idea of how they are coping with that pressure. Right now, I do not want to comment on medal hopes. I will be more than happy if India finish in the top six,” Prabhjot told
MiD DAY yesterday.
The Athens Olympian felt a good beginning will work wonders for the team. “Normally we tend to start badly and that affects the entire campaign. So, we should look for a win against the Dutch in the first match. That will be a great confidence booster for the team,” said the 31-year-old.
Prabhjot was a part of India’s 2004 Olympic side that finished seventh. His last assignment with the national team was the 2010 World Cup where a hapless India secured the eighth position.
He thereafter fell out of favour with the national selectors and his participation participation in the inaugural World Series Hockey tournament, backed by the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) could be a reason for his omission from the national team. Speaking of his absence from the team being a fallout of the warring Hockey India (HI) and IHF factions, Prabhjot said players are bearing the brunt of unwanted politics. “As players, our job is to play, but unfortunately we are at the receiving end for no fault of ours,” said Chandigarh-based Prabhjot, who works as an officer with Indian Oil.
Recalling his experience at the Olympic Village in Athens, Prabhjot said: “The village had the world’s best athletes under the same roof. Exchanging key chains and meeting American swimmer Michael Phelps (who won six gold medals at Athens) remains one of my favourite memories.”