India’s star drag-flicker Sandeep Singh has set a personal target of scoring in every game at the London Olympics and hopes to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the Beijing Games.
“My target is to score in every match here at the 2012 Olympics. I am hoping to land on target with my penalty corner shots at crucial moments,” said Sandeep ahead of India’s tournament opener against the Netherlands on July 30.
Sandeep’s drag-flicking prowess is one of the key components of India’s game plan and he is hopeful of living up to the promise.
“I never think that I’m the best flicker, but I practice to learn new things every day,” said Sandeep, who said he wanted to improve his overall field play.
“I don’t just want to be a drag-flicker. I want to be become a complete hockey player. If you are just a drag-flicker, you may some time be out of the team because you’re not performing well,” added the strapping defender from Haryana.
Incidentally, Sandeep is among the two players in the current Indian team to have previous experience of playing in the Olympics. The inability to qualify for the Beijing Olympics was a big setback to the country’s national game, and Sandeep said Indian hockey would have suffered a serious blow had the team not qualified for the London Games.
“If we didn’t qualify this time, Indian hockey could have become a dinosaur,” Sandeep said.
India are placed in Group B and defending champions Germany and the Netherlands are the most formidable opponents India are going to confront in the pool matches.
Hockey to have referral system
Field hockey will move into untested waters at the London Olympic Games when contesting teams would be allowed to call for one video referral per game through on-field umpires, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has said.
“Since Beijing (2008 Games venue), the possibility for a team to request a referral has been included and so London will see this for the first time at an Olympics. Each team is allowed one team referral, which must be made through the match umpire. This can occur at any time during a match, including extra time in classification matches, but not during shoot-outs. Only umpire referrals are permitted during a shoot-out,” the FIH website said.
“Team referrals are restricted to decisions within the 23 metre areas relating to goals, penalty strokes and penalty corners. Penalty cards may not be the subject of a team referral.”