Indian hockey winning a medal in the Olympics is one of the long-awaited moments for an ardent sports fan of the country. It is worth noting that the side boasts 8 gold medals at the mega event - the most by any team in the history of the Games - with six of them coming consecutively from 1928 to 1956. The side then managed to bag the yellow in 1964 and 1980 at the quadrennial event.
Since 1980, things changed vastly for the Indian hockey team. The undisputed side of the Olympics failed to enter the semifinal of the event even for once in the past 40 years. Be the lack of artificial turf, the interest of young players towards other games, especially cricket, or the weak domestic structure the cause, India have failed to match the evolving standards of hockey since their last gold.
Even though improvement could be observed in Indian hockey, the side have struggled at the world events like the Olympics and World Cup. However, this time, the expectation with the team is very high. Not only the fans but the players are also expecting India to do well in hockey at the Tokyo Games slated to take place this year, starting July 23. Meanwhile, Indian hockey player Yuvraj Walmiki also hopes that the 8-time champions will bounce back at the upcoming Olympics. In an exclusive interview with SportsTiger, the 'Prince of Indian hockey' revealed that he strongly believes the side would bag a medal, in case the marquee event takes place this year.
Medal at Olympics will definitely change things for Indian hockey: Yuvraj Walmiki
Yuvraj Walmiki, the hero of India's triumph over Pakistan in the 2011 Asian Champions Trophy, is confident that India will have a podium finish in hockey at the Tokyo Games.
"One thing I will definitely say Indian hockey right now is doing wonderfully well under (PR) Sreejesh and Manpreet (Singh)," said Yuvraj in 'SportsTiger Talk' show, adding, "I still have this gut feeling...In case, Tokyo Olympics takes place, the Indian hockey team will bag a medal this time, I have this strong belief in my heart."
Yuvraj believes a medal at such a big stage will help the hockey players in India get the requisite importance in today's generation that prefers cricket over any other game.
"As hockey players, we all want people to recognise us when we go outside to any supermarket, mall, road, etc,... as the attention cricketers get," he said.
"The current generation is highly educated and they are also paying attention to other games as well apart from cricket...People are showing their interest in games like kabaddi, hockey and football. We just need one win to feel proud being hockey players. Though I still feel pride in saying that I am a hockey player, a medal at Olympics in current generation being surrounded by social media, things will definitely change things for the Indian hockey," Yuvraj added.
When asked about what he does nowadays during the lockdown, Yuvraj revealed that he uses the 'Celebfie' app to enjoy his time. He posts his videos on the platform and hopes to inspire people. Notably, Celebfie lets fans and brands connect seamlessly with a celebrity for a request via a single touch on its mobile app.