17 June, 2021

The Scent Of Gold

With a team vastly improved on all counts, India could well end up among the medals in Atlanta

The Scent Of Gold

BACK in 1984, India fielded what was seen as one of the best-ever hockey sides at the Los Angeles Olympics. Yet, they finished fifth when a semi-final spot was theirs for the asking. Left-winger Zafar Iqbal missed what he himself acknowledged as a sitter of a goal against Germany. The match ended goalless when India needed a victory to advance into the round of four.

Recalling the incident in graphic detail, Iqbal, recently in Bangalore as member of the selection committee, admitted that the '84 squad was as talented as any other that India had sent out during the days when they were 'kings of hockey'. Says he: "It had an excellent balance, though the right-wing was not as sharp as the left. But then, the team had so much talent that it was thought we would certainly win a medal."

Now, on the eve of the Atlanta Olympics, the feeling that India has every chance to finish in the 1-3 bracket is all-pervasive. Earlier in Barcelona, Iqbal, having watched India decimate the Netherlands 4-1 during the qualifying tournament, commented: "I think the present...

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