Moscow Olympics hockey gold medallist M.M. Somaya is optimistic about India’s medal prospects in the sport at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. “I want to see our hockey teams bouncing back before the Olympic year under a new coaching staff. I hope the players and support staff gell well, and by the time 2024 rolls on, we will again have teams that will be medal contenders,” said Somaya, who is also part of the jury for the Sportstar Aces Awards.
“As far as hockey’s concerned, the Asian Games in September is crucial because if we win gold there, we automatically qualify for the Paris Olympics in 2024. It’s an equally important event for other disciplines, too - like wrestling, boxing, because the competition is stiff,” he added.
Somaya lauded the country’s women athletes for their stellar show across disciplines in 2022. “For me, the biggest takeaway was how the women athletes outdid their male counterparts in almost every discipline - boxing, wrestling, athletics, and badminton,” he said.
“The Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG), being the only big event in 2022, was the one we, as a committee, focussed on. It had the attention of the country... one of the reasons being the Asian Games was deferred by a year. Normally, that would’ve shared the limelight with CWG... However, winning the Thomas Cup in badminton and Avinash Sable’s silver in men’s 3000m steeplechase at CWG, where he ended the Kenyan hegemony, were standout moments for me.”
Somaya also said it was an honour to be part of the jury for the Sportstar Aces awards.”It is a privilege because it is headed by one of the best sportsmen in the country, Mr Gavaskar, and you also have an array of stars who have all excelled in their respective fields. More importantly, it is The Hindu group and it’s credible and highly esteemed standard of reporting that has set the bar high for us, judges.”
The Sportstar Aces Awards will be held in Mumbai on February 27. The event is powered by IDFC First Bank and supported by Indian Oil, India Cements, United India, Ramaiah University, Experimenta Science Center GD Naidu Charity, Finolex Pipes, LIC, BPCL, Samsonite, Big Basket, Nippon Paint, CRICHQ and Casagrand.