Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has stated that he would be disappointed if the Indian men’s hockey team didn’t finish on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics. India are the most successful side at the Olympics with 11 medals including eight gold. The last time India won a medal at the Olympics was in 1980.
Under Graham Reid, the Indian men have been in prolific form, winning six matches out of 10 then have played this year. The Men in Blue lost just once while drawing the rest. After being nearly completely out of action for most of last year, India returned with a bang with an unbeaten European tour that included a 6-1 thrashing of Germany.
Post that, India went to Argentina for two FIH Pro League matches, winning 2-2 (3-2) and 3-0. The visitors also played four practice matches against the 2016 Olympic champions, winning two, losing and drawing one each.
Speaking to Sportskeeda Live with Indranil Basu, Narinder Batra reiterated that he is expecting a medal from the Manpreet Singh & Co at the Tokyo Olympics.
“For men, I certainly have hope for a medal. If they don’t get it I would be personally very disappointed. I am saying this as president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and no other position,” Narinder Batra said during the conversation on Friday.
Women's team not to be taken lightly at Tokyo Olympics: Narinder Batra
Narinder Batra, who was appointed International Hockey Federation (FIH) president for a second term last week, also has high hopes from the women’s side. He stated that the Indian’s women’s side should not be taken lightly and can be giant killers on their day.
“For the women’s team, I can say that they can do anything on a given day. I am not ruling them out. They have worked very hard. They are ranked ninth in the world and have given tough competition to the rest of the world. This team has really picked up in the last three to four years, I must say,” Narinder Batra said during the chat.
The Indian women’s hockey team made their Olympic debut in 1980 finishing fourth. However, there was a huge 36-year gap in between before they qualified for the 2016 Rio Games. The Rani Rampal-led side booked their Tokyo Olympics ticket after edging out USA 6-5 on aggregate in Bhubaneswar alongside the men.
“This is the second time they have qualified for the Olympics through the qualification process. The world is taking the Indian women’s hockey team seriously. By 2024 and 2028, we can see the Indian women’s hockey team claiming they too have an Olympic medal,” Narinder Batra signed off.