India Doing Well Means World Hockey is Going Well: Celebrated Ex-Belgium Coach Shane McLeod
The Indian men’s hockey team made many sat up and take notice of them after their historic bronze-medal performance at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The Blueshirts kickstarted the new Olympic cycle with another bronze medal effort at the 2021 Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka – up next for the Graham Reid-coached side was the FIH Pro League, where India have done exceedingly well to be perched second in the standings with 12 points off six games behind the Netherlands, who have garnered 16 points off as many matches.
The manner in which the Indian men’s team have grown in leaps and bounds has impressed celebrated Belgium’s Olympic gold-winning coach Shane McLeod. “I’m a big fan of how India plays – I enjoy their attacking style and amazing skills. Over the last few years, India have improved on their defensive structures and have gained more consistency around their playing style,” he says in a chat with Hockey Passion.
The 53-year-old New Zealander, who stepped as Red Lions coach after the Tokyo Olympics, reckons the revival of Indian hockey is a great advertisement for world hockey. “I also believe that when India is faring well it means world hockey is going well. We need big nations competing for the top prizes as it adds so much to the value of our sport.”
McLeod has no doubts that India would be a strong contender for the 2024 Paris Olympics. “It was a great achievement by India to win a medal at Tokyo and this could be the sign that they will be a contender in Paris. It does remind me of Belgium’s first medal in 96 years when they won the silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics and we all know what happened at the Tokyo Olympics,” he says.
India must focus on raising the improvement bar, insists McLeod. “India would need to keep making little gains in all areas of the game as well as feel comfortable playing the big matches. Now that they have played and defeated Germany in an Olympic bronze medal play-off tie at Tokyo, they should be confident of repeating such feats in major tournaments,” he signs off.
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I look forward to your newsletter. So informative and well done! Kudos!!
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