The Indian Men`s Hockey Team has sealed a place for themselves in the next edition of Olympics. Yes, India has qualified to the London Olympics 2012. India achieved a gigantic victory beating France 8-1 in the finals at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi on Sunday 26 Feb 2012. This qualification is marked as the come back for Indian hockey into Olympics. As every one knows India had failed to be a part of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. That was a nightmare for a nation that once used to dominate world hockey like no others did.
But now team India is back, and back with tremendous energy & hunger in them. I must say this, the way the team played the finals & in throughout the tournament, it was just a beauty to watch them. The body language, spirit, energy, everything was bang on. The margin of the victory says it & they truly deserved the London ticket.
Sandeep Singh, India`s penalty corner specialist has been the star for his nation. In the finals he scored 5 goals out of the 8 goals scored by India. 46 goals were scored by Indians throughout the tournament & Sandeep alone has 16 goals in his name. He was awarded the “Highest Scorer of the Tournament”. Not only Sandeep, but the Indian captain Sardar Singh too had a great run & he was named as “Player of the Tournament”.
I really liked the atmosphere in the stadium during the final match. It was jam packed & full of tri colored flag waiving around. From the television sets itself I was getting goosebumps. Imagine how electrifying the stadium would be. This is what makes a player perform even better. When you have such an enormous crowd support, the energy levels are automatically risen. Good the see that out national sport is getting its due respect & support. What surprised me is that Doordarshan (DD) didn’t not telecast the live coverage of this final match. There might be some reasons behind this. But DD is India `s National Television. And its a little hard to digest, that our National Television didn’t telecast an important match of out National Sport.
After the victory there were talks about comparing hockey & cricket. Some of the news channels spoke about this & even on social networks, a lot of people were indulged in such talks. Well I think it is not fair comparing these 2 sports. Cricket is a sport played by around 15+ nations. Whereas, hockey is being played by 100+ countries. Both of them are different. Both require different skills, tactics & approach. No point in comparing them. So lets enjoy the moment of this hockey victory & look forward towards Olympics. Yes, hockey has not been getting as much support, fan following & even media coverage when compared to cricket. This is something that needs to be taken care of, by the people & also by the media. We just can`t let the achievements in our national sport go unnoticed.
Things shall & will turnaround around for Indian hockey after this victory. This qualification victory did get a good coverage in the media, both print as well as television. And according to the reports in TOI, the Haryana CM B S Hooda has announced cash rewards for the players which includes Rs 36 lakh for Sandeep Singh. Again, it feels good to see this gesture & I just hope this momentum continues. Every player in every sport requires support, fan following & the appreciation.
The London Olympics is to begin in late July this year & run towards the mid way of August. The momentum for India look fab for now. But they will have face tougher opponents in London. Coach Michael Nobbs has done his bit perfectly till date & he going to have a greater job do now on. Remember, India once were the obvious choice for gold in Olympics. India having 8 golds to its name has the highest tally of gold medals in Olympics for hockey. This also includes 6 continues victories from the year 1928 to 1956. Lets hope & wish India brings back those dream run of victories & hoping to see some gold from London this Olympics.
Till then Chak De !!
For more information about the London Olympics & all the happenings, log on to http://www.london2012.com.
Image courtesy: Times of India E paper (epaper.timesofindia.com)