Singh Harmanpreet of India celebrates with team mates after he scored his sides first goal during the FIH Hockey Pro League Men’s match between Great Britain and India at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on June 03, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
HOCKEY INDIA (HI) secretary general Bhola Nath Singh claimed that India will definitely win gold at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics if they miss out on the top prize in Paris next year.
He said the current administration under former India captain Dilip Tirkey is leaving no stone unturned to take Indian hockey to the top again.
“I have big plans for hockey and you will see some new things being introduced. We will try our best to change HI during this time,” Singh said. “I want to assure you that if not the Paris Olympics, India will surely win a gold medal in the Los Angeles Olympics. If they don’t, you can come back to me.”
To help Indian hockey recapture its past glory, Singh said HI is working on creating a bigger talent pool.
He said plans are in place to give the junior teams the best facilities as the senior side, coupled with enough international exposure, which would again make India a major hockey powerhouse. “As far as the junior teams are concerned across genders, they will get all the facilities and support that are provided to the senior team, including an international coach. And I want to implement it within the next two months.
“We also have some grassroots programmes for our junior teams. We have their zonal tournaments, and many more such junior tournaments are expected to start. We will also have a junior national tournament, and the players selected there will get proper training as the senior team,” he added.
The HI official said the junior sides will get to play more international tournaments. “So far, there were only nationals for the U-17 and U-18 sides. But now, they will also have international tournaments against top junior sides in the world. The short-listed kids at the junior level will be selected for a national camp from August 20 in Rourkela,” he said.
Singh said that having been a player and a coach himself, it is his duty to fulfil the needs of players as an administrator. On being asked how the administration had been promoting the game across the country, he said, “For the first time, every state has been given ample hockey equipment and kits. Most of the junior players come from poor families, whose parents cannot afford equipment. We at HI are keeping a watch that state associations distribute the equipment properly.”