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Fitness, variety in talent gives Indian hockey team edge: Jagbir

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New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) Two-time hockey Olympian Jagbir Singh is optimistic about India’s chances to succeed at the forthcoming Olympic Games due to variety in talent and high level of fitness.

The centre-forward, who was a member of the Indian team during the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Olympics, said on Wednesday that this team has “its own style of play” and each player has a “different quality”.

“I am very optimistic that this team can do what the previous teams couldn’t. Firstly, this team has its own style of play, and to name a few, be it Manpreet (Singh), be it Mandeep (Singh), Dilpreet (Singh), or Surender in the defence or (PR) Sreejesh under the bar, they all have very different qualities…

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“So the variety of talent in this current Indian team is laudable, and they are much fitter than any other team in the world,” said Jagbir, who also represented India in the 1986 and 1990 Asian Games.

The 56-year-old, who made 175 appearances for the national team, said the team should not get overawed when they reach the business end of things at the Olympics.

“To the men’s team, I would like to say that this is your chance, go grab it. Don’t get over-excited about playing the semi-finals or final, but go match-by-match,” he said.

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His advice to the women’s team, which is playing its second consecutive Olympics, is to take one game at a time.

“We all are proud of you that you are playing second consecutive Olympics. Take one match at a time, and you have the capabilities to do wonders,” said Jagbir.

— IANS

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