Tokyo Olympics 2020: Former captain Dhanraj Pillay confident of Indian hockey team qualifying for showpiece event
Insisting that India are currently at par with other leading hockey-playing nations, Dhanraj Pillay says he is confident the national team can qualify for the Tokyo Games.
The draw to determine the matches of the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be held on 9 September at the FIH headquarters in Lausanne
Pillay said the way the men's national team was performing right now, they would surely make it to the Tokyo Games.
Pillay heaped praise on Indian coach Graham Reid, saying the Australian is doing his job earnestly.
Mumbai: Insisting that India are currently at par with other leading hockey-playing nations, four-time Olympian Dhanraj Pillay says he is confident the national team can qualify for next year's Tokyo Games.
The draw to determine the matches of the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be held on 9 September at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
It will be conducted by FIH CEO Thierry Weil and will be streamed live on the FIH Facebook page.
14 men's and 14 women's teams, including India, will be involved in the draw.
"Right now, we (India) are at par with Australia, Germany, Holland, Argentina, Belgium and so they (the team) should not be scared to face any team and move ahead with full confidence," Pillay told reporters on Thursday night after attending an National Sports Day function organised by the Maharashtra government.
Pillay, who also played in four World Cups apart from four Asian Games, said the way the men's national team was performing right now, they would surely make it to the Tokyo Games.
"It is very important that we first qualify for the Olympics. It is not only my dream but that of the entire hockey fraternity that Olympics medal should come to India because last was in 1980 Games. After that we have struggled to get a medal in the Olympics," he noted.
India won the last medal in hockey at the Olympics — a gold — in the 1980 summer Games at Moscow, but after that, the country hasn't tasted any success at the quadrennial event. They had even failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The former skipper feels the real work for coach Graham Reid and his men would begin after qualifying for the Olympics.
"The way the team is performing and playing right now, I am confident that they will qualify for the Olympics and after that their (real) works starts because Olympics is a different ball game and you can't take even one match lightly. Points are important in every match and you will be playing 5-6 (teams) on alternate days," Pillay said.
Pillay, who hails from Khadki area in Pune, also heaped praise on Australian Reid, saying he is doing his job earnestly.
"As of now, he (Reid) is doing a good job. His job is to coach and he is doing the job earnestly," Pillay signed off.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
The group, made up of 18 boxers and seven other staff members, must now remain in quarantine at the training camp in Laengenfeld in Tirol, DBV director Michael Mueller said.
Japan's borders are still largely closed to foreign visitors and a vaccine is months or even years away, feeding speculation about whether the Games are feasible at all.
Surveys have shown a majority of Japanese companies and the pubic don't think the Olympics will happen next year — or should happen.