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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Asian Champions Trophy title shows India favourite for Asiad gold

It will take something extraordinary to stop India from reclaiming the gold medal at next month’s Asian Games. And if history is anything to go by, it’ll be their hubris.

Saturday’s Asian Champions Trophy final against Malaysia may have been a timely eye-opener but over the last 10 days, the gulf in class between India, who jumped to the world number 3 spot on Sunday, and the rest of Asia became as clear as day.

In the six-team tournament, which the hosts won after coming back from two goals down at half-time, India were the only unbeaten side. They scored 29 goals, conceded just eight; won 59 penalty corners, converting 16. And their 12 field goals were almost as many as the total goals scored by half the teams in Chennai.

They’ve shown the ability to switch tactics midway through a match and staged comebacks on the back of their superior fitness.

In many ways, India find themselves in an eerily similar position as they did five years ago before the Jakarta Asiad, where they inexplicably lost in the semifinals to Malaysia.

Mental battle

If they conquer the demons in their heads, India should finish on the top of the podium in Hangzhou on October 6, clinch the Paris Olympics berth and avoid a potentially complicated route to France via Pakistan, where one of the qualifier tournaments will be held.

And so, when the team re-assembles in Bengaluru on August 21, one gets the feeling that as much as Fulton’s coaching on the technical aspects, mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton’s inputs will be equally crucial, if not more.

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