With the euphoria over Indian junior women hockey team's historic bronze in the World Cup yet to die down, former senior men's side chief coach Michael Nobbs has claimed that seven of the players were suffering from anaemia, an iron deficiency disorder.
Nobbs said the achievement of the young girls was all the more praiseworthy considering that they were anaemic, which leads to tiredness and lethargy.
"It's very common among girls and in India it is acute. How do you expect the girls to match the healthier and stronger European girls in a world competition? Considering this, the bronze has been a brilliant achievement. It's nice to give cash awards, but there is a lot to do with these kids," said Nobbs.
Nobbs congratulated the junior girls for winning India's first World Cup medal but cautioned against a general "burnout" due to a lack of scientific plans.
"I have two growing daughters and they are part of an Australian system that not only takes care about their skills but their health as well. India have to adopt such an approach or else, these girls from rural India would be lost forever," he said.
"I was surprised to meet a dietitian at SAI, Bangalore, who has been working for the last 40 years without having done anything noteworthy," he was quoted as saying by sports.ndtv.com.
The 59-year-old Australian, who made an unceremonious exit as chief coach of senior men's team, said India had the potential to make it big in world hockey with a scientific approach and careful talent spotting.
"I surely don't want to work for Hockey India again, but India have the potential to match any country in the world. It's oozing with talent and there is no dearth in resources. I have seen this with my own eyes and there is a lot of work to be done," he said.