Kalmadi lavishes praise on 'golden' boy Diwakar

New Delhi, Jul 19 (UNI) Showering praise on Indian youngsters for the dramatic win over South Korea to lift the Junior Asia Cup Hockey tournament, the IOA president and ad-hoc committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi today said the victory ''marks the revival of the game in the country''.

''The gold-winning performance by our young team against South Korea in the final of Junior Asia Cup at Hyderabad yesterday marks the revival of Indian hockey,'' Kalmadi said.

The IOA president also singled out drag-flicker Diwakar Ram's decisive golden goal which helped India to successfully defend its title.

India was trailing 0-2 till the 58th minute, but Sunil Kumar reduced the margin in the next minute.

Diwakar, who emerged as the leading goal scorer in the tournament, netted the ball in the 61st minute to level the scores.

However, it was the UP lad's golden goal in the extra time that helped India to seal the match which at one point looked to be going away from the hosts.

''I congratulate all the team members, especially captain Gurbaj Singh and coach AK Bansal for guiding the squad to a superb win. I also would like to convey my special appreciation to young Diwakar Ram from Uttar Pradesh for showing a fine presence of mind during the game and for striking the 'golden' goal.

''This victory not only means a lot for the talented bunch that showed a remarkable courage despite being down 0-2 to kept its cool and snatch the title but also proves that they are the team for the future,'' Kalmadi said in his congratulatory message.

Kalmadi further added that the win has already chalked out a roadmap for the talented bunch and now it is up to the coach and all others connected with the game to take it forward. We are very much heading in the right direction,'' he added.

''I would like to reiterate that the FIH has allotted the Hockey World Cup to India and it will be hosted in 2010 in New Delhi.

''In fact, this will serve as a test event before the 2010 Commonwealth Games. India will also host the Men's Champions Trophy in 2012 before the London Olympic Games, besides the Asian Women's Championship. The venues and dates will be finalised later.

The ad-hoc committee chairman said India has began on a bright note to regain its lost glory and added that he was sure to improve the standard of the game in the country.

''It will be our endeavour to take Indian hockey to its glorious past and we are also determined to improve our game to global standards.

''Towards that end, we have made plans, including hosting several international tournaments which will lead us to 2012 Olympics in London with the ultimate aim of winning a medal,'' he concluded.


Story first published: Saturday, July 19, 2008, 18:05 [IST]
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