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History repeats itself: Ajitpal Singh

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | September 28, 2003 20:33 IST

Former India hockey aces Ajitpal Singh and Aslam Sher Khan congratulated Dhanraj Pillay and his team on the "brilliant victory" over Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

India beat Pakistan 4-2 to win the title for the first time. The triumph also earned the team a berth in the 2006 World Cup.

Speaking to rediff.com from Jallandhar, Ajitpal Singh, who led India to the 1975 World Cup triumph, also at Kuala Lumpur, said history repeated itself.

"It was a breathtaking game, which was dominated by the Indian boys right from the beginning till the end. In the second half, in particular, India outplayed Pakistan in almost all departments of the game and virtually kept the ball in the Pakistani half for most of the time. It was sweet revenge for our defeat in the league match in the same tournament," he said.

Ajitpal said that Indian forwards were far superior than their counterparts.

"They [Pakistani forwards] were totally off-colour as compared to our boys, who went into their half at will. It is a personal achievement for me because I had led the Indian hockey team in 1975 to World Cup victory. History has repeated itself for India at this venue," he added.

He praised the Indian midfield and defence for "supporting the forwards admirably".

"Our boys played like champions and they deserved to win the Asia Cup," he said.

Former Olympian Aslam Sher Khan, who was a member of Ajitpal's 1975 winning team, said the triumph "has come at the right moment".

"It is a shot in the arm for the Olympic Games, to be held in Athens next year. India has earned revenge for the Champions Trophy defeat," he said.

He expressed confidence that the triumph would pave the way for the revival of hockey in India.

"By virtue of lifting the Asia Cup India has qualified for the next World Cup tournament. This is the first time that the Indians have lifted this coveted trophy. Our boys played a scintillating game of hockey for which the Indian team has been known. We richly deserved to win the tournament," he said.

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