The FIH Hockey World Cup is almost around the corner as Bhubaneswar and Rourkela arte getting the final finishing touches of preparation ahead of the big event. The Hockey fans are buzzing and they are hopeful of India’s chances especially as they are playing at home and will have the crowd behind them. The SIlver medallists at the Commonwealth Games have gone on a tour to Australia where they will look to assess the areas they lack and need to improve drastically ahead of the quadrennial tournament.
One of Hockey’s most famous faces in hockey Viren Rasquinha who won the Gold medal at the 2001 Junior World Cup in Hobart shared how much a World event like this means to each and every player. He then went on to live that dream in five years’ time as he featured in the 2006 World Cup scheduled in Monchengladbach, Germany.
He shared how much it meant to him and his parents and how one feels when their name is announced in the Indian squad for the World Cup. Overall he highlights the surreal feeling that most of the players will feel ahead of the the upcoming World Cup aswell. “For any young kid who is a hockey fan like me to get the opportunity to play at the Olympics or the World Cup is the ultimate dream. And when your name is announced as part of the squad for the World Cup, it meant everything to me. I know it meant so much to my parents, to my dad, especially who’s such a massive hockey fan and to see the joy that it gave my parents and to feel that emotion of having the opportunity to play at the World Cup for your country, something that you’ve worked so hard for so many years, meant every everything to me,” Rasquinha reminisced.
Rasquinha was also a part of the Indian team that played a series in Pakistan during the 2004 Champions Trophy in Lahore. For him it was one of the most unforgettable experiences for him in his career as the stadium was full and the intensity was amazing. He shared the excitement and the tension around the game and highlighted how he cherished it wonderfully.
“I think it was an enthralling contest between two of the subcontinent giants and there was so much tension and rivalry at that time. Every single venue was packed to the rafters. I remember there was so much security at the hotels where the Indian and Pakistan teams were staying. And going from the hotel to the stadium and walking into the national stadium in Lahore with 60,000 people in the stands. I mean this was an unbelievable experience and you have to remember that was an excellent Pakistan team as well,” Rasquinha shared.
Lastly speaking about the Indian team and the upcoming World Cup, Rasquinha is very confident as he highlighted the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal and feels that they can achieve similar feat at the Hockey World Cup aswell.
“First of all, I think the Indian Men’s Hockey Team gave us so much joy at Tokyo Olympics 2020 by winning an Olympic medal after 41 years. I’m excited with the talent and potential of this team. I think they can do really well at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela 2023. They can go far, go deep into the tournament,” the former player concluded.
India are in Pool D alongwith Wales, England and Spain and it will be very exciting to see how they compete at the world stage against some quality nations right in front of their fans.