It was a historic Bronze medal for the Indian men’s Hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics. This was India’s first Olympic medal after a gap of 41 years and the Indian men’s chief coach Graham Reid believes that this can change the overall outlook of hockey in the country.
The Australian tactician feels that the benchmark for India should be to reach the level of Australia or Belgium. Both these teams have been extremely consistent over the last decade and India will look to improve on all aspects to reach that level.
“They (Belgium and Australia) are two world-class teams we saw in the final (in Tokyo). I think they are the benchmark and that’s what we need to be aiming for,” Reid told reporters during an open media session.
“If you look at Belgium, it’s a pretty good mirror to what we should be aiming for.”
Reid then went on to highlight how COVID-19 helped the players stay together and bond more which was reflected on the pitch.
“If you go back 15 months, it was very tough for all of us because most of us haven’t seen our family for a long time. So it was great to go to Tokyo and finally being able to play. Competition before the Games was very limited and to play at the highest level, you need competition to keep improving and that was difficult,” he said.
“The group bonded well once we got there. I kept saying to them don’t underestimate the effect of the last 15 months that can have on a team when you go through adversities together as a group and that helped in bonding and that’s what you saw in the bronze medal game.”
India started well with a close 3-2 win over New Zealand but then they were demolished by the Aussies in a 7-1 defeat. Reid however reflected on the result and said that the Men in Blue did well to create loads of chances.
“We look at the data behind the loss, the scoreline was 7-1 but we created a lot of opportunities in that game and we actually played better I feel.
“I showed the guys the numbers and told them look, we are not far off, with Australia having one of those days. So, it was all about helping the team’s mentality to look to the next game,” he said.