New Delhi, July 22 | Execution will be the key for India to achieve its dream of a podium finish at next year’s Tokyo Games, reckons V Baskaran, who captained the Indian hockey team to its last Olympic gold medal in 1980.
With eight gold medals, Indian men’s hockey team has been the most successful side in Olympic history but since the 1980 Moscow Games, the country has not had a podium finish.
The women’s team, on the other hand, has qualified for the Olympics only thrice — 1980 Moscow, 2016 Rio de Janeiro, and 2020 Tokyo. The team had finished fourth and sixth in 1980 and 2016 respectively.
The 69-year-old said for a podium finish “every single player needs to give his minimum 80 percent if not 100.”
The Indian team will gear up for the Olympics with away matches in Hockey Pro League against Argentina (April 10 and 11), Great Britain (May 8 and 9), Spain (May 12 and 13) and Germany (May 18 and 19) before finally playing a home tie against New Zealand (May 29 and 30).
Talking about the women’s team, the former coach said: “Since I have watched this Women’s team closely too, I feel they have great potential to do well.
Baskaran also recalled the gold-medal winning feat of the Indian team at Moscow, crediting the achievement to the young but formidable team that included greats like Mohd Shahid, Zafar Iqbal, MM Somaya, MK Kaushik among others. It was after 16 years that India had reclaimed the gold medal at Moscow Games.