Sreejesh, Sardar aim to build on success

Sreejesh, Sardar aim to build on success

The Indian men’s hockey team returned home on Sunday from Incheon to a heroes’ welcome, with fans turning out in large numbers to receive the Asian Games champions.

Teary-eyed and overjoyed fans hugged and cheered the players and support staff as they stepped out of the Indira Gandhi international airport. The team got for India its third Asian Games gold — and qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics Games.

Goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, the hero in the thrilling final against eight-time champions and holders Pakistan, was the most sought after at the airport. Sreejesh, who made two brilliant saves in shootouts after regulation play ended 1-1 to help India clinch the title after 16 long years, reiterated there was no pressure on the team in the final.

“There was no pressure on us in the final against Pakistan. We were confident of winning. When they were leading at the end of the first quarter, we still had no pressure as we were aware we had three more quarters left. We knew we would score and win. In the penalty shootout, the entire team was relaxed and had the confidence in me,” said Sreejesh.

Captain Sardar Singh said the team worked hard and deserved to be champions. “I am proud of my team-mates. Thanks to all the players, this win wouldn’t have been possible,” he said. “Our team was indeed well prepared. We will keep on improving with every match we play in the future.”

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