New Delhi: Hockey legend and Captain of the Indian Men's Hockey Team at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games Vasudevan Baskaran believes the Indian Teams are poised to bring glory at the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled for this July.
In a candid conversation with Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series launched by Hockey India in the lead up to the Olympic Games, Baskaran expressed that the teams must inculcate a strong belief that they can finish on the podium.
He said, "The Men's team has been playing really well. My advice to them is to keep the confidence level up. Each player has come up the hard way to reach here. It would perhaps be the first Olympics for about seven-eight players, and I feel they shouldn't just be happy with the 'Olympian title' but they should aim for a medal. This is possible only when everybody in the team believes that they can be a medal-winning team and finish on the podium."
Speaking of the Indian Women's Team, Baskaran stated that the team has gained tremendous confidence since their previous outing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Beating USA at the FIH Olympic Qualifier, Baskaran says the team led by Rani has earned its place in the Olympic by sheer determination. Now, they must remain focused on finishing in top 4.
"When I was playing 1980 Moscow Olympics, women's hockey was included. Our Indian Team had missed the Bronze medal closely. After seeing the current Indian Women's Hockey team, particularly from 2016 they have developed a lot of confidence. I saw them play live in Bhubaneswar when they beat USA, one of the best teams in the world. They rightfully earned the place in the Olympics."
"They are on the up-hill scale. I feel they are capable of doing well. They need to push themselves for the first 4 position. I know Rani and team are capable of doing very well," he said.
In the Hockey India podcast Hockey Te Charcha, Baskaran also got nostalgic about the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games where his team won the prestigious Gold Medal after beating Spain in the Final. He spoke candidly about his young team and how they prepared during the national camp held in Bangalore and the challenges the team faced in the lead up to the Games. "The team was not expected to win a medal. We were going with a young squad but the days we spent in Bangalore for the camp was very crucial in team bonding and going to Moscow ten days before the Olympics began made a lot of difference," stated Baskaran recalling about the team's hay days.
Hockey India launched the Hockey Te Charcha on 14 April, exactly 100 days ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Through this podcast series, Hockey India aims to provide the fans of hockey a unique experience to relive the glorious moments of Indian hockey by listening to the iconic players who have brought pride and honour to the nation.
In its first episode where Hockey Te Charcha engaged in a candid conversation with legendary centre forward Harbinder Singh who narrated India's success at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. The second episode featuring Baskaran went live today and can be accessed on Hockey India social media handles.