Indian men’s hockey team coach Graham Reid said on Thursday that people around the world will feel very privileged and proud on seeing the performance of his team after the 5-4 win over Germany in the bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics.
At the Oi Hockey Stadium, India defeated Germany to clinch a medal at the Olympics after a gap of 41 years. Reid, who was a member of the Australian team which won the silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, talked about how the bronze medal win in Tokyo matters to him.
“I think most people around the world would feel very privileged and proud to see what we saw today. It certainly means a lot to me. We have done a lot of hard work in the last two years. We have made lots of sacrifices and been in and out of quarantine for probably eight of those 15 months. To see the result we got today was pretty special,” said Reid in a virtual media interaction organised by Hockey India.
Reid was all praise for the fightback made by the Indian team after trailing 1-3 to Germany. “If you are talking about today’s match, then I think it was a fantastic performance. Apart from the first seven or eight minutes, we were a little bit asleep. But I think against a team like Germany, you pay the price and you can tell from the very first whistle that they were very pumped today. So, we paid the price early. But for the next three quarters, we were very switched on.”He added, “You saw some very nice hockey from both teams. But I think we were able to put the ball on the net which had been lacking at certain stages during the tournament. But today I think it was really a great fightback. We got to one all and then they got on top of us with three goals to one. I think one of the pleasing performances of the day was to be 3-1 down and after losing semi-finals, most teams would struggle with that mentally. I think it showed you where the group was. Today when we came back to 2-3, then 3-3 and getting back to 5-3, it was quite a wonderful performance today.”
The 57-year-old went on to speak about how he had a chat with his team before the match began about not losing the hope for a comeback at any stage of a match.
“It was no doubt that before the game like today we would get into trouble and things would not go well. We talked before the game that we need to find another level, a next level when things go bad. That’s what I think you saw today.
He explained, “We were digging deep and trying to play fast, aggressive, attacking hockey. That paid off today. Another thing we were saying today a lot was to dare to lose to be able to win. You have to put some risks out there. You have to be aggressive. I think we were today.”