Indian Men’s Hockey team chief coach Graham Reid believes that the 36th National Games has come at the right time and that it will help in building a formidable team for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Speaking on the sidelines of his maiden National Games experience, Reid said he was pleased with the quality of the matches in the eight-team competition that reached its finale at the Maj. Dhyanchand Stadium here on Tuesday.
“This is the first National Games I am watching. I would say it has come at the right time. The most important aspect is many youngsters have showcased their talent which could come in handy in building a good Team India for Paris Olympics,” said Reid, a native of Queensland, Australia.
The Chief Coach recognises the different approaches by the players at the domestic and international levels. “Here, in the National Games, it is more of individual skills that one gets to see while, on the international stage, it is different with a one-touch game. Individual skills are needed but the players will have to adapt to the circumstances,” he said.
Reid said the current Indian team has the ingredients to be one of the teams to beat across the globe. “Having said that, the focus of any member of Team India should be to adapt to the circumstances and play to potential,” he said, looking out for talent that can help the Indian squad in international events.
Talking about Harmanpreet Singh, the winner of the 2022 FIH Player of the Year award, the Chief Coach said the recognition would spur him. “He has had a great year. I am sure he will improve and carry on the good work. He is not easily satisfied, and has the urge to improve every day, a good sign of a brilliant player,” Reid said.
The Chief Coach also praised goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. “Yes, he has been good. The career of the ’keepers are longer than other players,” Reid said, indicating that India are looking at developing goalkeepers, scheduling a camp from where more keepers could be spotted and groomed.”