It was a historic performance from the Indian Men’s hockey team as they clinched the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. It was the first Olympic medal for Indians after 41 years of wait and it will surely inspire a generation to pick up the hockey sticks again.
Vivek Sagar Prasad who was the youngest member of this team revealed how the team was down and out after their semifinal loss against Belgium. But then the players were determined not to return home empty-handed. Hence they worked really hard for the bronze medal.
India defeated Germany 5-4 in a nail-biting encounter, clinching the Bronze medal in the process.
“The mood in the team after the semi-final loss felt as if we had lost someone in the family. Everyone was very quiet. In the evening, our seniors spoke to us and told us that we are not going to India empty-handed. Whatever the Germans team dishes out, we will give our best and change history,” Vivek Prasad said in an interview with Mid-day from Bhopal on Thursday.
Vivek played a pivotal role throughout the tournament but it was against Argentina in a group stage match where he scored and handed India the lead.
“It was a crucial tie considering we were so close to getting into the knockouts. The coach had told me to time my run well and be prepared whenever the ball came to me. We knew Argentina were capable of scoring on counter-attacks, so when I scored to take the lead, it put them on the back foot and put us in control of the match,” said the talented youngster.
India started their Tokyo Olympics campaign positively with a win over New Zealand. However, things turned south when Australia obliterated Graham Reid’s men 7-1 in the second fixture of the Olympics. It was a huge dampener for the whole team. But according to Vivek, Reid always motivated the boys to look forward.
“We had suffered such a massive defeat after a long time. The loss made us aware that we cannot take any match or any opponent for granted. The coach told us to stop focusing on that match and look forward to improving in the coming matches. He instilled in us the mindset to look ahead and it helped us a lot,” concluded the 2020 FIH Hockey Rising star of Year.