A medal at London Olympics will be tough: Nobbs

Michael NobbsNew Delhi: Michael Nobbs, coach of Indian National Men’s Hockey Team has been very instrumental in making India qualify for the London Olympics 2012. His appointment to the post has seen Indians faring better that that how it was in last few years and the gold at the Olympics qualifiers was followed with a bronze at the Azlan Shan Trophy.

He has instilled a new spirit in this team and changed the style of play. Nobbs, who is from Australia, spoke to Indian Sports News about India’s chances at the Olympics, preparation and much more before heading to France and Spain for test event.

Talking about India’s chances in the Olympics, Nobbs said that anything better than the 10th position finish would be good. “We are currently ranked 10 in the World rankings and anything better than that at the Olympics would be a good result for us. Olympics is a huge tournament and 12 best teams of the planet would be playing there so expecting a medal even before going there would be a foolish thing to do,” said the coach adding that the test events and bronze medal win at Azlan Shah tournament has helped the team ahead of London.

“It has helped the team immensely. Our preparations would not have been so good had we not taken part in these events. It did help a lot in preparing ourselves before the Olympics. See we have been performing well off late and to expect a medal wouldnot be unrealistic. And at the same time thinking that we have a sure shot at a podium would be unrealistic. So all I would say is that we would go their try to perform to our best capabilities for the country,” said Nobbs, adding that India has been teamed up in a tough group comprising Germany, Holland, New Zealand.

“It is a tough group and it would see a lot of upsets. The way we played in Azlan Shah if we can maintain it and luck stays on our side we can move to the next round. None of the teams in the whole tournament can be said as the best side barring Australia. They are the best side of the World and a strong contender,” said Nobbs.

On being asked if he has instilled Australian style of play in the team, Nobbs countered saying that it’s vice-versa as the Australians play the Indian style of hockey. “First of all it is Indian style of play which Australia play. Indian players are physically fit now and yes they are physically capable of doing so and their fitness and physical endurance has increased a lot. We have practicing the style for a long time and it would not be a problem.”

By Indian Sports News Network