He endured the ache of returning empty-handed from the Olympics 4 instances throughout his enjoying days, however the legendary Dhanraj Pillay says now he has no regrets after watching the Indian hockey staff declare a bronze on the Tokyo Video games.
The eight-time former gold-winners, who battled a heartbreaking droop within the final 4 many years, scripted historical past at Tokyo by securing an Olympic medal—a bronze—after 41 years.
The final time India had received an Olympic medal in hockey was on the 1980 Moscow Video games the place they bagged the gold.
On Thursday, India introduced an finish to the medal jinx after getting the higher of the Germans in an exhilarating 5-4 win within the bronze medal play off.
“I all the time had the remorse that I couldn’t win an Olympic medal. I used to wonder if I’d be capable of see India on the Olympic podium once more in hockey. Now with this historic win, I’ve no regrets,” the previous captain advised PTI.
“You all the time go to the Olympics to win a medal and your morale is damaged when you find yourself enjoying classification matches,” mentioned Pillay, who’s the one Indian to symbolize India in 4 Olympic Video games (1992 to 2004) and as many World Cups and Champion Trophies in a profession spanning over 15 years.
The Indians confirmed nice willpower as they made a memorable comeback, preventing again from a two-goal deficit to show the match of their favour after being 1-3 down because of some defensive lapses.
“I have to recognize this staff for the best way they’ve managed a comeback after the heartbreaking defeat towards Belgium,” mentioned the 53-year-old.
Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh produced some sensible saves, together with saving a penalty nook within the dying moments, to not permit the Germans take the match into the shootout.
“I’ve all the time mentioned that Sree (PR Sreejesh) is a giant match winner. Harmanpreet (Singh), Rupinderpal (Singh), Simran (Simranjeet Singh) everybody has contributed. The never-say-die angle of this staff is exemplary,” mentioned Pillay.
He additionally mentioned that this win is a results of an extended course of and the change didn’t occur in a single day.
“This doesn’t occur in a single day. There was an extended course of behind this. Many individuals have contributed like former coach Roelant Oltmans, Jose Brasa, Terry Walsh, Ric Charlesworth or Harendra Singh,” he mentioned.
“We cannot neglect the assist employees additionally, plus the contribution from former gamers and the Odisha authorities.” Pillay mentioned India ought to begin making ready for the 2023 World Cup and 2024 Paris Olympics on the earliest.
“I believe we should always begin making ready for the World Cup and subsequent Olympic straightaway. We will need to have a wider core group of gamers and put together them for the following mission,” he signed off. — PTI