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Asian Games 2018 bronze medal not enough, says India hockey captain PR Sreejesh

By PTI
PR Sreejesh (right) takes a selfie with his hockey teammates after their bronze medal playoff against Pakistan at the Asian Games 2018

New Delhi, September 3: India hockey captain PR Sreejesh feels that a bronze medal and win against Pakistan can hardly heal the pain of not being able to win the gold at the Asian Games 2018. India lost to Malayia in a shoot-off after conceding an equaliser in the final minute of the regulation time.

Being the defending champions and ranked fifth in the world, India were clearly the overwhelming favourites to retain the Asian Games gold and they lived upto the billing in the pool stages, scoring a record 76 goals before the defeat in the semi-finals.

Asian Games special page | Medals tally

The defeat sent shock waves in the Indian hockey fraternity and some even said that overconfidence let the team down, but Sreejesh begs to differ. "There is no question that we are disappointed. We the players know how hurt we are because we have performed exceedingly well through the year. The bronze is a consolation medal and it can't heal our pain," Sreejesh said.

There were talks about the team being complacent but Sreejesh begged to differ. "After the loss to Malaysia, some people said that we became overconfident but it is not true. We were confident, not overconfident. We were confident of beating anyone but silly mistakes cost us dear," he said.

"In the game against Malaysia, we started well but our tactics of slowing down the game in the middle backfired. It gave the opposition chances to attack us and they took advantage of it."

The Indians went into the Asian Games looking to seal their Olympic berth well in advance but that didn't happen. Sreejesh, however, said that all is not lost and exuded confidence of qualifying for the Olympics in future. "Asian Games is one of the chances to qualify for the Olympics, it's not the last. There will be ample options available to qualify for the Olympics and we are confident of achieving it," he said. "It's just that we were capable of qualifying from the Asian Games but we couldn't make it."

The skipper, however, is confident of turning it around in the season-ending World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar. "We are top 5 in the world at the moment but in a World Cup you can't predict anything because top 16 teams of the world will be there. In the end, it will boil down to how you perform on the ground," Sreejesh said. "But if you look at our performance throughout the year we are a podium contender. We just need to maintain our consistency on the turf," he added.

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    Story first published: Monday, September 3, 2018, 18:57 [IST]
    Other articles published on Sep 3, 2018
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