India will qualify for Tokyo 2020, says Bir Bahadur Chhetri

Chhetri, who won the gold-medal with the national team in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, says the team ticks almost all the boxes to be able to make it to the mega event.

The Indian team won the Olympic Test event held in Tokyo.   -  Getty Images

Bir Bahadur Chhetri, a member of the 1980 Moscow Olympics gold-medal winning national hockey team, feels the current Indian team is capable of qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Chhetri said the Indian side ticked almost all the boxes to be able to make it to the mega event. “I feel they will do well and qualify. Now the fitness level is very high. The best players are being selected and we hope they will perform well,” said Chhetri, who was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by Hockey Bengal on the occasion of National Sports Day here on Thursday.

“They start (tournaments) on a good note but lose crucial matches. The selectors and coaches have to look into it. They should do well under (Australian coach) Graham Reid.”

'A complete team game'

Chhetri said the competitiveness between different international sides had narrowed down now. “There is hardly any difference between teams. Most of the top teams are close to each other… Earlier it was about individual skills, now it has become a complete team game,” he said.

On being conferred the award, Chhetri said, “It is a great feeling as I played here.”