Bhubaneswar: Despite India not doing well so far in the Men's Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, the craze for the sport is at its peak in the Temple City. Odishatv.in invited Olympian Lazarus Barla to visit its News Room. We had a quick chat with him about the tournament and the performance of the players from Odisha. Excerpts from the interview...
- On the performance of Men in Blue
India played well in the first game against World No.2 Australia. The Indians played well but small mistakes mattered in that match. Converting half chances and execution was not up to the mark. Against England also we played well but were unfortunate. We came back well in the fourth quarter. Last minute mistakes hampered us.
- On the three players from Odisha in the Indian Team
We hope the Odias in the team will do well. Dipsan is only 18 and I want him to keep learning. I think Dipsan, Amit and Birendra will continue to excel in the future.
- Preparation of the Indian team for big tournaments next year
Preparations are going well for next year. There is a good combination of youth and experience in the team. Many players were in the Asia Cup but are not in the team for HWL and few senior players are back in the team. They are experimenting with the team combination. The understanding needs to improve between the three players from Odisha.
- On Birendra Lakra's fitness after recovering from injury
After one and half years he came back into the Indian side. But it hasn't looked like he came back after a knee operation. He has maintained his fitness and he is still the same.
- On the associations in Odisha working for hockey
I am the president of Hockey Gangpur and we are trying to encourage young players to take up hockey professionally. We are looking forward to development of hockey in coastal districts as well. We are trying to teach the basics of hockey.