India's disastrous hockey campaign in the London Games ended with a humiliating bottom spot finish out of 12 competing nations, and it prompted a dejected skipper Bharat Chetri to say that the former champions were not good enough to play at a big stage like the Olympics.
"We thought we could do well here, but the team was not good enough for a top-class event like the Olympic Games," said Chetri after India lost 2-3 to South Africa in the 11-12th place classification match at the Riverbank Arena in London on Saturday.
The India-South Africa match-up was between the last placed teams in the two preliminary groups.
India had lost all their five pool matches and today's loss to South Africa completed the most miserable show at the Olympics for the eight-time gold medallists, who in 2008 had failed to qualify for the Beijing Games.
India were placed 10th in the world rankings ahead of the Olympic Games.
The Indian team got the bronze medal at the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia two months ago, but Chetri said experience was key to success in a top-notch event like the Olympic Games.
"We need to be better prepared for such events, where experience seems to matter a lot more than we thought," said the Indian custodian who did not play on Saturday.
"Though we thought ourselves to be a good team, we failed to justify the expectations," he said.
"What we saw and learnt here was quite different from the past tournaments in which we had participated," Chetri added.
Vice-captain Sardar Singh, who emerged as India's best player in the disastrous campaign, said numerous missed chances in every game hurt the team badly.