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'Olympics a distant dream'

india Updated: Sep 27, 2011 00:20 IST
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Painting a dismal picture of the current status of the Indian hockey team, Australian coach, Michael Nobbs, on Monday said the team had a long way to go to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. He put the chances at "only 30 to 40 per cent".

However, he did not want to be too gloomy indicating, ''we have to win all the matches before the qualifiers. That includes nine-a-side tournament in Australia next month. Then the chances may turn bright," he added.

It would be the second time since 1998 if India fail to book a berth in the Olympics after the 1970s when the team ruled the hockey field. The country could not make it to the Beijing Olympics. Replying to a question, he said, "Just started to build the team...long, long way to go for the Olympics. I had told you immediately after taking over that the chances of the team qualifying for the London Olympics are very remote. Let us see how we perform in the coming tournaments."

The Olympian is keen that the team plays more matches against archrivals Pakistan. "Yes, I want the Indian team to play against Pakistan in India in January. But invitation is yet to be extended to Pakistan and I hope it would come through and my wards would get chance to improve their skills."

About the strategy he would adopt in the ongoing camp for next month's tour of Australia, he said, "We are concentrating on fitness, motivating young players to continue to play well."