His dream of winning an Olympic medal unfulfilled, former India hockey goalkeeper Bharat Chetri believes Manpreet Singh and his men can break the four-decade-old jinx in the Tokyo Summer Games to be held next year.
Indian hockey has a rich history in the Olympics, having won an unprecedented eight gold medals, besides one silver and two bronze medals.
But India’s last success at the quadrennial event came 40 years ago in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, where they won the last of their eight gold medals.
Chetri, who was part of the Indian team that finished last in 2012 London Olympics, said it is his belief that the past masters of the game can achieve something big in Tokyo.
“The younger Bharat would have said that my dream was to win medals at the Olympics, but the older Bharat, as a fan of Indian hockey, just wants to see the team win medals for our country at the Tokyo Olympic Games,” Chetri was quoted as saying by Hockey India in a release.
“It is not just a dream, it is a belief, which I have seen in our current players also during the times that I have spent with them as the goalkeeping or assistant coach.
“I think the talent that we have in our ranks, along with the top fitness levels, we really have a good chance to perform at our best under the guidance of both the respective chief coaches.”
The former captain said India has made significant improvement in all departments of the game since the last place finish in London and it is clearly evident from the world rankings where the eight-time Olympic champions are currently placed at fourth spot.
“But over the past eight years since the London Olympics, I think there has been considerable improvement in our game, and the credit for that also needs to go to all the players and coaches who have been involve,” he said.
“And also Hockey India for doing a great job in providing the best facilities and infrastructure to its athletes to train and stay during the national camps.
“I think as a young player, when you see the kind of importance that a national team gets from its fans and the federation as well, it is very motivating,” he added.