Edwards Alloysius: 'India matched the fittest teams in Tokyo'

Atlanta Olympics goalkeeper and former India captain Edwards Alloysius credited coach Graham Reid for moulding the team into a champion outfit

Atlanta Olympics goalkeeper Edwards Alloysius said it was a fantastic display by the Indian men's hockey team to win a bronze in Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.

"Frankly, the kind of team spirit the team had put on show and the level of fitness were something unbelievable. They matched the fittest teams in this Olympics," Alloysius said.

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"Overall, the team performance has been exceptionally good. Well, the loss to Belgium was not totally unexpected given their allround superiority. But credit to the Indian team for holding the rivals at bay for almost three quarters in that match," he said.

"No doubt, it is a great comeback after the humiliating loss to Aussies in the league phase. They showed great courage and conviction that they were playing for a medal," the former India captain said.

"One must admit coach Graham Reid was just brilliant and successful in moulding the team into a champion outfit. He reposed the faith shown by the Hockey India with this wonderful performance," he said.

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Alloysius was all praise for goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh who the former felt was under immense pressure due to the absence of a reserve goalkeeper of his calibre."Though he struggled a bit with blocking ground level goalbound hits, he was outstanding in making the aerial saves," the former India custodian said.

"The biggest positive from this super show can be that the Departments will show greater interest in recruiting hockey players which was not the case in the recent past," he said.

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"Definitely, the authorities concerned should make every effort to ensure there is continuity to this great show as India is hosting the World Cup too. Long-term plans are crucial to sustain the huge fillip the sport is likely to  get from Tokyo bronze," he said.

"It will be great if we have two separate leagues for juniors and seniors at national level to ensure the bench strength is equally good for the future," he said.

"And, I am sure with men's team winning bronze, the women's team should also be high on motivation and confidence to ensure another bronze," Alloysius concluded.

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