Jagbir rues India's failure to qualify for Beijing

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New Delhi, Jul 29 (UNI) Expressing disappointment at the Indian hockey team's failure to qualify for the Olympics, former international Jagbir Singh today said it will be frustruating to watch other countries play at Beijing.

''I shed tears of blood when I think about it. We all felt sorry India will not be a part of the Olympics for the first time,'' Jagbir Singh told UNI.

''It will be really frustrating to watch other countries play at Beijing while we stay at home,'' he added.

Jagbir hailed India's victory at the Junior Asia Cup saying that the emergence of three dragflickers in the tournament indicates a bright future for the game in the country.

''For the first time we had a balanced team with three good dragflickers to choose from,'' he asserted. ''Dragflick is the winning formula in modern hockey. The emergence of Diwakar Ram and VR Raghunath bodes well for the future of Indian hockey.'' The former Olympian was effusive in his praise for Diwakar Ram, who led India's fightback in the Junior Asia Cup final against South Korea.

''Diwakar has come of age during the Asia Cup. But to cement his place in the senior squad, he will have stiff competition from Sandeep Singh and VR Raghunath,'' he said.

Jagbir maintained that he was awestruck at the manner in which India fought back after being 2-0 down in the Junior Asia Cup final against South Korea.

''We were 2-0 down in the final but we came back to win the final.

It was a really great match,'' he said.

He declined that the popularity of hockey has gone down pointing out that the Premier Hockey League (PHL) has witnessed huge crowds.

''The PHL matches in Chennai used to draw crowds of 40,000 people.

The public will always be interested if we produce high quality matches,'' Jagbir maintained.

UNI AB RKM HT1900

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