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Something wrong with Indian women’s hockey team: Mamta Kharab

Mamta Kharab says there is something wrong with the coaching system or the players’ psychology in the wake of India women’s 6-0 demolition by England at 2018 Commonwealth Games hockey bronze medal match.

other sports Updated: Apr 15, 2018 10:34 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mamta Kharab,hockey,2018 Commonwealth Games
Indian women’s hockey team lost 0-6 to England in 2018 Commonwealth Games hockey bronze medal match.(REUTERS)

Those who’ve witnessed the India women’s hockey team’s showing at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester would know the remarkable comeback it scripted on way to beating England in the final.

It’s disappointing, though, that the current team coached by Harendra Singh, suffered a humiliating 0-6 loss against the same opponents on Saturday.

Talking about the title triumph in Manchester 16 years back, Mamta Kharab, who scored the winner for India, said that the team overcame huge odds, such as lack of support staff and training on grass, to beat England. “We often trained on grass. There was no support staff. We only got the opportunity to train on artificial surface in national camps. But the desire to excel was a big motivating factor for us,” said Kharab.

The Sports Authority of India girls’ hostel in Chandigarh, where she trained, lacked basic playing facilities. “We used the playground of the state department to train,” she said.

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The Arjuna awardee said that the will to win contributed to the team’s success in Manchester, but she didn’t see that kind of determination among the current lot competing in Gold Coast. “Despite good preparation, the players were erratic and lacked the sting in attack. Losing by a 6-0 margin means there is something wrong. If the team isn’t able to perform on a given day, it has either to do with the coaching system or the players’ psychology,” said Kharab. Recalling the 2002 triumph, she said that it was all about staying calm. “The home team had a big advantage but some quick thinking on the field contributed to the success.”

Kharab wondered why the performance graph of the national team was unsteady in big competitions. “We have a good backup system, including a high performance director. Despite that team playing well against Australia, it faltered in the next match.”

First Published: Apr 15, 2018 10:34 IST