IMAGE: The Indian hockey staff have fun after profitable the bronze medal. : Hockey India/Twitter
The age-old illness of inconsistency remained unaddressed however Indian hockey did take child steps against world good fortune in 2017, a yr which reaffirmed the country’s continental supremacy within the game.
The Asia Cup crown after a decade and the bronze on the Hockey Global League Finals have been the prime issues for India’s males’s hockey staff within the yr long past by means of, the place successes on the world level have been few and some distance between.
For the ladies’s staff, alternatively, it was once a yr to bear in mind. The women received best their 2nd Asia Cup identify in October- November and by means of distinctive feature of the identify entered the top-10 of the FIH scores for the primary time.
Awe-inspiring from time to time and odd on events, that exactly sums up the Indian males’s staff in 2017.
They began the yr with a bronze on the Azlan Shah Cup and ended it in the similar model — with a bronze within the season-ending HWL Ultimate in Bhubaneswar.
In between, it was once a roller-coaster journey as Manpreet Singh and Co. persisted to grapple for global supremacy.
Having proved their upper-hand in Asia for moderately someday now, India have been out to turn out their may on the global level in 2017 however effects were not on anticipated traces when the groups travelled to different continents.
The boys’s staff began its world calender with the Azlan Shah Cup, the place it discovered a brand new nemesis in Malaysia in opposition to whom they misplaced to crash out of the overall.
Within the match, India additionally suffered an early setback when captain and goalkeeper P R Sreejesh suffered an ACL harm and was once dominated out for the remainder of the yr.
However by means of beating New Zealand to complete 3rd, following the setbacks, got here as a reduction for the then trainer Roelant Oltmans, who started the yr below power after India made a quarter-final go out on the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Then got here the three-nation invitational match in Dusseldorf, the place India carved out a draw in opposition to Germany and a win over global No three Belgium.
India additionally had blended effects right through the excursion of Europe, the place they received a few Check suits in opposition to Global No four Netherlands and Austria.
The ones effects have been seemed upon as just right observe for the Hockey Global League Semi-Finals up subsequent, however their marketing campaign in London was once a crisis as they slumped to defeats in opposition to lower-ranked Malaysia and Canada to complete a disappointing 6th.
As anticipated, the defeats in opposition to lower-ranked aspects price Oltmans his process and the under-performing senior avid gamers their puts within the nationwide staff.
The 63-year-old Oltmans was once changed by means of his Dutch compatriot Sjoerd Marijne, who shifted base from the ladies’s staff to the boys’s facet.
Indian hockey entered a brand new generation with Marijne’s access and the Dutchman struck gold in his first task — the Asia Cup in Dhaka — the place the staff received a gold after a hiatus of 10 years.
In between, Manpreet Singh took over as captain of the facet and slowly was the epicentre of Indian midfield, changing skilled Sardar Singh, who had a yr.
With age now not on his facet and by means of the wondering by means of British police in London right through the HWL Semi-Ultimate over a grievance by means of his former female friend, Sardar misplaced his mojo at the turf and was once slowly proven the door in favour of more youthful avid gamers within the HWL Ultimate.
India additionally defeated Pakistan two times in 2017 and by means of doing so, recorded their 7th successive win in opposition to the arch- competitors.
Marijne may have tasted good fortune in his maiden check, however the true problem awaited the Dutchman on the HWL Ultimate in Bhubaneswar.
India began their HWL Ultimate marketing campaign with a spirited 1-1 draw in opposition to global champions and eventual winners Australia.
However as has been the case, inconsistency got here again to hang-out the Indians as they slumped to defeats in opposition to England and Germany.
Within the quarter-finals, India confronted Belgium and the hosts got here up with their best possible efficiency of the yr, beating the Global No three facet within the shoot-out.
India, alternatively, misplaced Zero-1 to Olympic champions Argentina on a rain-drenched Kalinga Stadium turf within the semis sooner than getting the easier of a depleted German facet within the bronze-medal fit.
The outcome made Marijne the primary international hockey trainer to complete at the podium in his first two assignments.
For the ladies, the Asia Cup crown enabled them to qualify for the 2018 Global Cup on benefit.
The Asia Cup identify additionally gave the junior Global Cup-winning trainer Harendra Singh his first triumph as answerable for the ladies’s staff.
In between, the Indian ladies received a gold on the HWL Spherical 2, however completed 8th within the HWL Semi-Ultimate in Johannesburg, thereby failing to qualify for the HWL Ultimate in Auckland, New Zealand, in contrast to their male opposite numbers who have been fortunate to scouse borrow a spot by means of distinctive feature of being the hosts.
However as curtains slowly drew on 2017, a ray of hope shone brightly for a packed 2018, a large yr for Indian hockey with the Commonwealth Video games, Asian Video games and Global Cup lined-up.
Image: Roelant Oltmans
: Hockey India
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