Indian hockey team can win an Olympic gold medal in 2028, says former high-performance director David John

The Indian hockey team is well poised to win a gold medal at the 2028 Olympics, feels former India’s high-performance director David John.

The former high-performance director, on the sidelines of the Khelo India Youth Games, said the team would have had enough experience to absorb any kind of pressure to gun for glory.

“In the 2024 and 2028 Games, most in the squad will be our current junior World Cup players. They would have played close to 300 internationals together by then and would be about 30 years each,” David John said.

India has shown signs of a heart-warming resurgence, with the men winning bronze and the women finishing a valiant fourth in the Tokyo Games recently.

“These are exciting times for India but many squads – including Germany, Australia, Belgium and Holland – are also getting better,” David said.

David John excited on new Indian hockey role

David, who was with the Indian team for several years before resigning, is back in the country as Odisha’s Director of Hockey. He is excited about his assignment, especially as he has the complete support of the sport-loving Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik.

“It is a challenging role. But if Odisha becomes strong, Indian hockey becomes strong, both in men and women,” he explained.

In pursuit of this goal, Odisha is already building 20 more synthetic turfs in the deepest pockets of the state, where extreme poverty co-exists with an abundance of natural talent.

“Soon, our kids will play on synthetics and not on grass from the grassroots level itself. Our next step is to put good coaches in place on each of these new turfs so that they receive the best coaching at the grassroots level itself. In eight years, you will see a different Odisha in the sport, and hopefully a different India,” he explained.

The much-respected Australian expressed amazement at the dribbling skills of the Indians but insisted that they needed to sacrifice them to become a world force again.

“Don’t try to dribble past your opponents. Modern sport is all about 3D and aerial skills. Fortunately, these youngsters have all imbibed these skills. Our players are quick and adept at attacking but they lose the ball in the rival D as they run too close to the defenders. Worse, that allows the other side to counter-attack with devastating effect,” David concluded.

Also read: Commonwealth Games 2022: Indian men’s and women’s hockey schedule, date and timings, Coaches speak ahead of action packed year

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