The Olympic fever is already set with less than two weeks remaining for the start of the Summer Games in Tokyo. The Indian Men’s Hockey is also ready to prove its point on the global stage. led by an able captain in Manpreet Singh there are lo to hopes from this young Indian side filled with talented individuals.
Former Indian Hockey legend Dilip Tirkey also believes that this Indian team has the potential to achieve great things. He even goes on to say that the Indian team may even have a shot at the podium in Tokyo.
“I have great expectations from the current Indian men’s hockey team. I think there is a lot of quality on the side, and they have a good chance of finishing on the podium in Tokyo. I would like to wish the team all the very best and I hope that they do well in the Olympics this year,” said Tirkey, one of India’s greatest defenders.
Speaking about the former Indian defender’s first experience at the Olympics in Atlanta back in 1996, he said, “Every athlete has a dream of becoming an Olympian and I got a chance of playing in the Olympics for the first time in 1996. We had some big players in our team at that time such as our captain Pargat Singh Powar. I was very excited to play in the Olympics.”
Tirkey then revealed his memories from the Sydney Olympics in 2000. He still regrets India’s 1-1 draw against Poland. “We performed very well in the league stages of the 2000 Olympics. We played well against Argentina, Australia, and Spain and we needed to defeat Poland to qualify for the semi-finals, but we couldn’t do it,” Tirkey shared.
The Indian team could have gone to the semifinals of the Sydney Olympics had they won that game against Poland. Hence Tirkey regrets missing out on a big opportunity.
“The match against Poland got so difficult for us and it ended in a 1-1 draw in the end. We were leading 1-0 after I scored in the 53rd minute but Poland managed to score in the last few moments of the match. If we had beaten Poland, then we could have qualified for semi-finals and after that anything could have happened. So that draw against Poland has remained as a sad memory for us,” he further added.
The former India international further went on to share his great experiences from the 1996 Olympics involving legendary tennis player Leander Paes.
“There were many exciting moments for us at the 1996 Olympics. Tennis star Leander Paes also made history in the Olympics by winning a Bronze medal. We got to see the US President Bill Clinton as well, who visited the Olympic Village. I went to watch the athletics and football events at the Olympics as well,” he concluded.