India not worried about 2008 failure, says Tirkey ahead of Olympic qualifiers

Indian men's hockey team will be striving to return to the Olympics in London after missing the Games for the first time in 80 years at Beijing four years ago.

Confident: India's Ignace Tirkey during an Asian Men's Hockey
Championship match in China last year. PIC/AFP

The eight times champions have the advantage of playing at home in the qualifiers beginning at at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here today, taking on Singapore in the opener.

Four years ago India fell at the last hurdle narrowly, losing to Great Britain in the final of the qualifiers in Santiago, Chile. India have been handed the most favourable draw in the qualifiers here and they cannot have any excuse for making it to London. Psychologically, they should be upbeat as a they are at 10 in the world the highest ranked team.

Skipper Bharat Chettri along with five of his teammates, V Raghunath, Ignace Tirkey, Sardar Singh, Tushar Khandekar and Shivendra Singh, was part of the team that had the chilling experience of getting knocked out in Chile.

Senior defender Ignace, who along with Sandeep Singh is the only player to have the experience of playing in an Olympics in 2004, said: "We don't want to think of the past, this team is determined to do well and qualify for the Olympics."