The Indian hockey team returned back today after a strong outing at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia where they won a silver.
This version of the Sultan Azlan Shah cup saw India performing close to their performance level at the reputed event in the 2010 version where they had won a gold medal. The 2016 performance was the team’s best since 2010, when they won the gold at the tournament. India beat Japan, Canada, Pakistan and Malaysia in the tournament and lost to New Zealand in league and Australia in the final match to end with the silver medal.
Sardar Singh, satisfied with the performance of his young team, said, “This was a good experience for youngsters, who were playing with the senior team for the first time. In particular, Harmanpreet, Surender and Harjeet showed that they are capable of playing at the higher level and fit into the team perfectly.”
Providing the youngsters a decent exposure to work out the best available bench for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, India scored 18 goals and were behind to only kookaburras who scored 25 goals in the tournament. For an inexperienced team led by Sardar Singh, this was a good performance. However they’ll require their youngsters to come ready to international platform, if India has to keep the winning habit intact.
Speaking about the Indian performance, the Indian coach Roelant Oltmans spoke, “It is a good preparation for Rio. We have identified some of our weaknesses, which a tournament like this highlights, and can now work on them extensively to make sure we can have a strong showing at the Olympics.”