Men’s team had good chance of medal if Olympics was held this year: Ashok Kumar

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World champion and Olympic medallist Ashok Kumar feels that Indian males’s hockey team lead via Manpreet Singh had been in competition for a podium end had Tokyo Olympics no longer been postponed via a yr because of COVID-19 pandemic. The key member of the 1975 World Champion Indian team and a bronze medallist on the Munich Olympics is fearful as to how the team would form up subsequent yr, wanting to regain the momentum.

“If the Olympics were held this year, we definitely had some chances. We had shown improvement and we could have got some good results there,” Kumar, who scored the successful purpose in opposition to Pakistan within the 1975 World Cup ultimate, informed PTI in an unique interview.

In truth, Kumar feels that trainer Graham Reid can be just a little circumspect because of this extended compelled wreck.

“Even (head coach) Graham Reid will have a big question mark going on his head now. Coaching is going on inside closed doors. Unless you see them in real matches, how will you assess… He’s not a machine.”India’s perfect display in 2019 got here in opposition to global’s most sensible ranked team Belgium, beating a complete energy aspect 2-1 in a Pro League come across. India additionally had a commendable 2-2 draw in opposition to the ambitious Australia of their ultimate Pro League recreation ahead of global got here to a standstill because of the pandemic.”Definitely, there’s a wreck in momentum and it’ll truly make a large distinction. You can’t say now (that we can win medal). We will speak about it subsequent yr seeing how they carry out within the construct as much as the Olympics.”The 70-year-old additional mentioned the ladies’s team had been additionally in nice form and would have completed neatly had the Olympics been held this yr.

“Even our women’s team were in the peak of their form and they too had bright chances but now we never know. We will talk about the Olympics only next year,” he mentioned, remembering their 5-1 thumping win over the US within the first leg Olympic Qualifier.

The males’s team can have a packed calendar once they resume publish pandemic as they’re slated to play within the Asian Champions Trophy in November ahead of their excursion to Malaysia after which a Four-Nation match in New Zealand early subsequent yr.

They will then resume the Pro League in opposition to Argentina with back-to-back suits until finish of May within the construct as much as Tokyo 2021.

India, who misplaced to Belgium Rio 2016 quarterfinals, have no longer received an Olympic medal since Moscow 1980 the place they received a gold medal and because then their shape slipped.

“It depends how they regroup and how they keep the spirit high. They have to stay motivated, it’s purely an individual thing,” the famous person dribbler of yesteryears mentioned.

Kumar then again believed that India have stepped forward so much within the fresh previous via bolstering their defence.

“We have a balanced squad at the moment. We have plugged the hole of leaking goals at the last minute. Our defence is much better now.””We have some good drag-flickers in Rupinder Pal Singh and Simarnjeet Singh. The forwards simply wish to mix just a little extra and display ball anticipation.”Kumar, who was a Mohun Bagan legend having mesmerized the Kolkata public together with his artistry within the early 70’s, continues to be enamoured via ‘City of Joy’.”I was so extremely joyful that I left my B Com assessments halfway to play along the legends of the rustic in Mohun Bagan.

There had been greats like Shahid Noor, Inam-ur Rahman, Gurbux Singh and Vece Paes who had been enjoying for Mohun Bagan then. It’s a choice I received’t feel sorry about,” he recalled.

From 1969, Ashok Kumar performed for 3 seasons at Mohun Bagan, a golden generation all through which they received the primary department hockey league 4 occasions in a row, but even so successful the coveted Beighton Cup two times.

“They (Mohun Bagan) were highly impressed by my skills at the University games and had sent me an offer letter.

“I made my national debut from Mohun Bagan and went on to represent the country at the Olympics. I will always cherish this award as Mohun Bagan is like my second home,” he signed off.

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