Graham Reid on India's Olympic hockey bronze: We have not seen the best of this team yet

Indian men’s team chief coach Graham Reid took pride in his team's historic bronze medal-winning feat at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, underlining that the side could achieve bigger glory.

Graham Reid said it was important for India to shift focus to the bronze medal match against Germany after the semifinal loss to Belgium.   -  Getty Images

Indian men’s team chief coach Graham Reid took pride in his team's historic bronze medal-winning feat at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, underlining that the side could achieve bigger glory.

The Australian said the togetherness of the mentally resilient and physically fit unit held it in good stead. “Last 15 months (through the pandemic) was a unique experience. Our mental resilience would have increased. I would give 9.5 out of 10 for mental resilience,” said Reid during a virtual press conference.

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Reid said it was important for India to shift focus to the bronze medal match against Germany after the semifinal loss to Belgium.

“The first hurdle was the mentality of not allowing you to feel sorry for yourself, put missing out on gold and silver behind and focus on the bronze medal match. The team did it together.”

Reid spoke about a technique he followed before the match. “When we zoomed out, we pictured ourselves with a medal around our neck tonight. We zoomed back in to see what we needed to do to win.

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“It was a fantastic performance (against Germany) apart from the first seven-eight minutes when we were a little asleep. Playing from 3-1 down, many teams would struggle mentally. But winning 5-3 was a great performance.

“We have not seen the best of this team yet.”

Reid praised forward Simranjeet Singh, who was not in the original squad of 16 but played a crucial role through the event and scored twice in India’s 5-4 victory over Germany. “I asked him three goals, and he gave me two,” Reid said on a lighter note.

Like a true team man, Simranjeet gave credit to the whole team for his goals. “When I got the chance, I tried to give my best. Any of the 11 players can score. Mine was just the finishing job, the full-back started the goals,” said Simranjeet.

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Drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh spoke about the players’ mental toughness. “We made a lot of sacrifices. Our focus was to remain mentally strong, and it helped us… It is a proud and emotional moment. Everybody wanted to win. That’s why everybody was aggressive. We thought this is the last time. Let’s do our best instead of regretting later.

“At the (Games) Village, everybody waited to congratulate us,” said Harmanpreet.

The vice-captain said the men’s team would support the Indian women’s side during its bronze medal match against Great Britain on Friday.

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