Tokyo [Japan], August 5 (ANI): India men's hockey team coach Graham Reid on Thursday said his side made a lot of sacrifices over the last two years, and to see this being turned into a bronze medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics is "pretty special".
It took 41 years, but the dream of every Indian was finally realised on Thursday as the men's hockey team beat Germany 5-4 to win the bronze medal here at the Oi Hockey Stadium -- North Pitch.
"Fantastic performance, apart from the first seven-eight minutes, where we were asleep. Germans were pumped from the very first minute and we paid the price early. After that, in the next three quarters, we were switched on, you saw pretty nice hockey from both the teams. Today, was really a great fightback. 3-1 down, one of the most pleasing performances of the day was being 1-3 down, most teams would struggle mentally but we came back to 3-3, and getting up to 5-3 was a wonderful performance today," said Reid during a virtual press conference organised by Hockey India.
"I was talking to someone the other day, if you mix India, hockey, and the Olympics, most people around the world would feel proud of what we saw today. We have done a lot of hard work over the last two years, we have made a lot of sacrifices, we have been in and out of quarantine for probably eight of those 15 months, but to see the result we saw today was pretty special," he added.
The Men in Blue showed absolute resilience, strength, and winning spirit to register a remarkable comeback win against a strong German team.
"We started a little bit asleep, to be honest, we were a bit casual and we underestimated how switched on the Germans were. In the second half of the first quarter, we started to wake up and you consistently saw improvement from there. It was no doubt that during a game like today, you were going to get into trouble. You saw us digging deep, you have to be aggressive and we were today," said Reid.
"At the half-time, one of my points was to stay calm so that we have a clear head to work with. It is a matter of making sure that everyone gets to their task. I always try and keep them zooming out, we did this in the morning, I made them see the picture of the bronze medal, and then I asked them to picture themselves with it. Then we zoomed back in and what task we need to achieve," he added.
Minutes after the Indian men's hockey team won the bronze medal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to skipper Manpreet Singh and coach Graham Reid and said the hard work put in by them over the months had finally paid off. (ANI)