Consistency vital: Oltmans

Indian Hockey’s High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans on Tuesday said India needs to put up a “confident and consistent” performance to secure one of the three automatic World Cup berths up for grabs in the FIH World League Round 3.

The Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams will depart for Rotterdam in the wee hours on Wednesday to participate in the FIH World League Round 3 (Semifinals), a 2014 World Cup qualifying tournament, to be held from June 13-23.

“The men’s competition is really very tough but the players should be confident about their own abilities. And if we can show that confidence in a consistent basis, there is no reason why we shouldn’t qualify from here,” Oltmans told reporters here.

“I can assure you that we will fight our hearts out to be among the three top teams,” he added during a function organised to unveil the new playing kit of the men’s and women’s national team.

Three teams each will qualify directly for next year’s World Cup from the two World League Round 3 (Semifinal) events. They will be joined by five continental champions and the host nation.

“Our focus should be to qualify directly either through World League Round 3 or Asia Cup,” Oltmans insisted.

Oltmans, who also coached the Netherlands and Pakistan hockey teams, said the Rotterdam-bound Indian team is a fine mixture of youth and experience.

“In Akashdeep Singh and Mandeep Singh, we have some promising youngsters in our forward line while Shivendra (Singh) will lend experience to them,” he said.

“We also have best penalty corner specialists in the world in Sandeep (Singh), V R Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh.”

Oltmans was happy with Sandeep Singh and Shivendra Singh, who returned to the squad after a gap, and warned any player against taking his place for granted in the national team.

Meanwhile, Hockey India also felicitated living legend and Olympian Allan Schofield with a cheque of Rs two lakhs. Schofield was part of the Indian team that won a gold medal in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

HI gave away Rs one lakh each to Sardar and Jaspreet Kaur for winning the player of the tournament awards in FIH World League Round 2. HI also presented Rs 1.5 lakh each to Sardar and Ritu for winning Asian Hockey Federation Player of the Year 2011 awards.

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