Hockey stars' iPad wish to come true

A major wish of the Indian team that triumphed in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers late last month will come to a fruition next week.

Following their sensational 8-1 victory over France that powered them into the London Olympics and lifted the spirits of the ailing national game, accolades and cash prizes poured in instantly from all corners, including administrative body Hockey India. However, the common request from all the players was for an iPad, a gadget they believe will help enhance their performances.

“The moment India won the Qualifiers, Lalit Suri (of the Lalit group of hotels) announced a cash prize of Rs one lakh for all players and Rs 50,000 for the support staff,” said Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra. “We at Hockey India also announced the same cash prizes. However, the players said they would prefer an iPad. We decided to give them both -- the cash prize and the iPad.”

The iPad idea cropped up after they watched coach Michael Nobbs -- a self confessed Apple fan -- pull out various data, including match videos, player analysis and fitness charts, among other things. The players, who maintain personal performance charts in their laptops, felt the iPad would be a far more convenient option.

“Generally, before and after every match, players watch videos of themselves as well as the opposition,” said Nobbs. “It gives them an idea of what they’ve done -- right or wrong. This is a common practice among most professional teams in the world.

“They saw to me do lots of stuff on my iPad and they felt the need for one too. Once they get it, we have a lot of things lined up. The players can track their performances, fitness, diet etc. Also, before every match, players can download specific videos that can save time from team meetings.
For eg, Sandeep Singh and VR Raghunath can upload videos specific to drag-flick and defending.”

The cash prizes and iPad will be handed out during a function here later this month.

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