Olympic hockey begins sans India

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Beijing, August 10 : For the first time in the history of Olympics, the men's hockey event at the Beijing Olympics would not feature India.

Germany will take on hosts China in the tournament opener on Monday at the Olympic Green Hockey Centre.

Before the Games began, International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Els van Breda Vriesman said, "No one wanted to see India out of the Olympics but the reality is that the best 12 nations have qualified for Beijing."

"The hockey world will obviously miss India but I'm confident they will comeback stronger and ready to take on the world again," she added.

Ironically, even an upstart like Canada, which includes players of Indian origin like Sukhwinder Singh in its ranks, qualified for Olympics, while India just could not make the cut.

In 1928, the team won its first Olympic gold medal. From 1928 to 1956, the Indian men's team remained unbeaten in the Olympics, garnering six gold medals in a row.

The Indian team has won a total of eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals in Olympics.

On March 9, 2008, India lost 2-0 to Britain at Santiago, Chile in the final of one of the three qualifying tournaments for the Beijing Olympics. With only the winner advancing to the 12-team event, the Indian men's team was eliminated from the Beijing Olympics competition. This is the first time that the Indian men's team will not participate in the Olympics since 1928.

ANI

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