SV Sunil: Medal a ‘tonic’ for Indian Hockey

"This win will boost our morale before Rio Olympic. It’s like a tonic for us as beating Netherlands in a major event is a big achievement.," said Sunil.

S.V, Sunil controls the ball during the match against Netherlands in Bronze medal match of the Hero Hockey League World Final.   -  Getty Images

India’s ace striker S. V. Sunil feels their win against defending champion Netherlands will work like a ‘tonic’ for Indian Hockey but asserted that the team will have to work really hard on some areas to clinch a medal at Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year.

“This win will boost our morale before Rio Olympic. It’s like a tonic for us as beating Netherlands in a major event is a big achievement. It has given us the confidence that we can beat any team on our day but Olympic is far away now and we should not over think about that,” said Sunil.

India broke their 33-year-old medal jinx in a major international tournament as they came back from two goals down to stun defending champions Netherlands in the shoot-out, in a thrilling bronze medal play—-ff match of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final in Raipur yesterday.

India last won a medal in an international tournament way back in 1982, when they beat Pakistan 5-4 in the Champions Trophy in Amsterdam.

“Coach Roelant Oltmans has taught us to give our cent percent on field without thinking about the results. He always says that if you keep on thinking about medal, results won’t come. Our strategy was taking one match at a time and it worked,” said the ace forward.

Sunil also admitted that inconsistency was major problem for the host in the pool phase but the team overcame that in the quarterfinal against the Great Britain.

“Our performance in the pool phase was not consistent but we knew that QF will be very crucial and we have to win that anyhow. We won against Britain and then defeated Netherlands in this play off match which is a big achievement,” he said.

India came back from two goals down and Sunil gave full credit to coach Oltmans for that turnaround.

“We were down by two goals and by the half time Indian supporters might have thought that it’s over now. But it was coach’s inspiring talk during half time break that we managed to not only come back but also win the match. He told us that we have nothing to lose but can achieve so much if we win it from here. We were determined to win,” he said.

Sunil, however, conceded that a lot more has to be done to do well in Rio. “I will talk about the forward line. There was lack of coordination in initial phase and we must not allow that.

“Basics like earning PC, ball stoppage, availing the chances and finishing are the key. We have enough time and I am sure that Indian team will perform better in Rio,” he said.

“The plus point is that our defence has improved and we do not succumb in pressure situations now. We didn’t give many PC in this tournament which is also a good sign.”

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