India in Olympics is good for Hockey Pak stars

By:


New Delhi: The
Indian hockey team's Olympic qualification was not just celebrated in the
country but was also lauded by their counterparts across the border in
Pakistan who felt the side's presence in the mega-event is essential for
the sport.

India had failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics,
which was a first-in-80-years low for Indian hockey. But the team's erased
the memories of that nightmare by booking their London ticket last night
by hammering France 8-1 in the qualifiers' final here.

India's
performance was lauded by Pakistani players such as Rehan Butt and Sohail
Abbas, who said to save Asian Hockey, it is necessary that the neighbours
play Olympics.

"I have been following India's matches in
qualifiers and they played really well. Far better than what we saw last
time. India has got a relatively easier pool but qualifiers are always
pressure games and you cannot take any team lightly. India has handled
this pressure very well," Rehan said.

"For the existence of Asian
Hockey it is necessary that India and Pakistan play major events like
Olympic. It will be great to see India in London," he said.

Sohail
was always optimistic of India's qualification for London games and is
waiting for an India-Pakistan match over there.

"The beauty of
the game lies in India-Pakistan matches and you see packed grounds every
time the arch rivals meet. London games will be special as the city has a
large number of Indian and Pakistani population and it will be a treat for
them."

"I am waiting for an India-Pakistan match in London," said
the ace drag flicker, who has been named in Pakistan's probables for the
Olympic preparatory camp to be held from this week.

He is also
full of appreciation for India penalty-corner specialist Sandeep Singh who
is the man of the moment for India.

Sandeep has scored 16 goals
in qualifiers including 5 in the final. Sohail counts him among the best
five drag-flickers in the world.

"India has got Sandeep Singh who
is one of the best drag flickers in the world and is in awesome form.
India has many talented players like Raghunath and Rupinder as far as
penalty corner is concerned. Jugraj (penalty corner coach) is doing really
well for them," said the veteran.

The captain of Chandigarh team
in World Series Hockey Rehan is hoping that this event will be highly
successful and will increase hockey's popularity.

"Indian crowds
just love hockey. We have seen packed a stadium in the qualifier final and
during World Cup 2010 and

Commonwealth Games also. I hope that
WSH will bring them to stadium again," he said





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