New Delhi: With a Commonwealth Games silver proudly hanging by their necks, the Indian men`s hockey team returned home to a rousing welcome by Hockey India (HI), Indian Olympic Association (IOA), fans and friends at the Indira Gandhi International airport here on Tuesday.
The team showed tremendous grit by beating New Zealand 3-2 in the semifinals after trailing by two goals. The Sardar Singh-led side then ran into Australia again in Glasgow, a repeat of the 2010 edition in Delhi, and lost 0-4 to the world champions but the Terry Walsh-coached side were lauded for their efforts.
Congratulating and welcoming the team, Hockey India Secretary General Narinder Batra said, "I am proud of the team and congratulate them on their well deserved Silver medals. All the hard work and efforts they have put in prior the tournament helped them perform their best, bringing laurels to the country."
"The entire nation is proud of the team and I wish them all the very best for the impending Asian Games and all other future endeavours," he added.
Delighted by the impressive welcome at the airport, midfielder Sardar said, "I am more than happy to be back home and extremely overjoyed at such a grand reception by friends and fans. Our next step is winning the Gold at the upcoming Asian Games for which the boys are going into the tournament confident."
"The just concluded Commonwealth Games brought to the forefront many positives along with some areas that needs urgent attention to better ourselves. We will work towards the loopholes and put forward a better team for the forthcoming Asian Games," he said.
India next tour Bangladesh for a tree-match series starting August 6, which is a tune-up for the Asian Games in Incheon between September 19 and October 4.