New Delhi: The Asian Games gold medal after a hiatus of 16 years will have a "telling impact" on Indian hockey, feels chief coach Terry Walsh, insisting that “sustainability” would be the key to produce “continued excellence”.
A spirited India outclassed arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 in a nerve-wrecking shoot-out to regain the Asian Games men’s hockey gold medal after a gap of 16 years and also sealed a direct entry into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. And Walsh said the yellow metal in Incheon is an “indicator” of the team’s progress.
“The situation now is very delicately balanced. So this gold is definitely going to have a telling impact on Indian hockey. We have moved to a better place with the team than what we were a year back,” the Australian said.
“It was much-needed, the gold was a great tonic. It gave a good measure of our progress. But the real question from here on is sustainability and improvement. The need of the hour now is to work out some aggressive strategy. We will have to make some changes because constant changes are a must to produce consistency and continued excellence,” he said.
Walsh said a strong development programme from the grassroot level is a must if India wants to achieve consistency in their performances.
“The present group of players are very good but the real issue is longevity. You need to have development programmes for sustainability and longevity. There needs to be accountability which I am sorry to say is not present now,” he pin-pointed. “We have very good talent in junior programmes and they need to be exposed.”