2008 failure makes Chetri all the more hungry this time

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Bangalore, Jul 23: Goalkeeper Bharat Chetri was part of the Indian squad which had failed to make it to the 2008 Olympics at Beijing four years ago. And that makes Chetri, the skipper of the squad that will take the fields at the London Games this year, all the more hungry to make a mark at the mega showdown. The team's first target is to make the semifinals, he said.

London Olympics Special

Chetri, 30, who hails from Darjeeling in north Bengal, will be appearing in his first Olympics and the first goalkeeper to lead India on such a big occasion. With 12 years of experience under his belt, Chetri has found himself out of the side a number of times, but each time, he has made a strong comeback. At this moment, he is just eyeing the Olympics. "Captaining the side is an added responsibility. I have to guide other members," he said. Chetri's idol is former Indian goalkeeper Ashish Ballal.

The Indian skipper still rues the missed chance at Beijing saying it was the worst experience of his life but quickly added that the team was looking to make up for that this year. India had lost in the final of the qualifying tournament to Great Britain at Santiago to miss the plane to Beijing. It was the first time since 1928 that India, once a dominant in world hockey, failed to qualify for the Olympics creating a huge uproar across the country.

Chetri, son of an army man and known to handle pressure with calm, said his favourite moment was the 2010 Commonwealth Games semifinal match against England where he helped India win after dashing the opposition's hopes in the tie-breakers.

Chetri is accompanied by PR Sreejesh as the second goalkeeper in the squad. Chetri said he has a healthy competition with the latter and both help each other in every possible manner. According to Chetri, they both have different styles of play and hence give the team management that extra room for tactical maneuverability.

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