‘Our performance is getting better with every tournament’
India hockey coach Roeland Oltmans is delighted at his team's outstanding performance at the Champions Trophy and said it will boost their confidence to produce a better show at the Rio Olympic Games.
India settled for a silver medal in its best ever Champions Trophy performance after the spirited side went down 1-3 to world champions Australia in a summit clash penalty shootout, in London, on Friday night.
Oltmans praised his team for putting up a fine show after making their first appearance in the final of the showpiece event in the annual calendar. India had held Australia goalless in regulation period.
"I'm delighted with my team. By all yardsticks, their performance in the final was outstanding," said Oltmans.
"I am proud of what we've been doing as a team. Our performance is getting better with every tournament. Any coach would be absolutely pleased with this Indian show.
"We'll use the confidence gained here at the Champions Trophy to give a better display in the Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro," Oltmans said.
Oltmans said the way India performed in the title contest has boosted his faith of a fine show in the Olympics.
"Look at the way the boys raised their game to play a competitive final. It was just a day after we lost 2-4 to Australia in the league match," said Oltmans.
"When you play the final you want to win it. We even had our chances," he said.
"I'm happy with the silver medal. We can live with that, but last night I was not pleased with the manner in which manner in which the shootout was conducted."
India lodged an appeal against the decision to allow Australia to re-take the second shootout, on which no goal was scored. It held up the medal presentation ceremony and the
jury had to deliberate for an hour and a half before Australia were declared winners for a record 14th time.
For India, this was their first silver medal. India's only previous medal in the Champions Trophy was a bronze way back in 1981 at Amsterdam.
India's good show also erased the unhappy London memories from the disastrous 2012 Olympics, where they finished at the bottom of the 12-team competition and failed to win a single game.
The Indian team is now heading for the Spanish city of Valencia for a six-nation tournament.
Sixteen members of the Champions Trophy squad will go to Valencia, where they will be joined by another four coming from home.
The Indian squad for the Olympics will be announced after the Valencia tournament.
Oltmans believes India's show is what lighted up the Champions Trophy this time.
"The highlight of the Champions Trophy was the way our boys performed on the international stage," said Oltmans.