Poor planning cost us medal in 1980 Olympics: Eliza Nelson

Mumbai: Former Indian women`s hockey captain and Olympian, Eliza Nelson, on Wednesday said that the team missed a medal at the Moscow Games due to poor planning.

"We were there a week earlier but all we did was practice. I think we practiced too hard before the start of the Olympics and by the time the matches did come we were a bit tired," Nelson informed.

"We were up at five in the morning and we used to wait till midnight because practice sessions were not booked. We wasted a lot of time and energy. If we had planned it better, we could have come back with a medal," Nelson said on the sidelines of an event organised by Sportstar magazine.

Nelson, who led the team that won gold medal in the 1982 Asian Games, added, "We were being trained by one coach and later another coach was nominated with the team. If we had taken a proper coach, maybe we could have won a medal then."

The athlete also rued the lack of proper training facilities at that point of time in the country.

"While we had a camp in India, we did not train on artificial turf. We went to Moscow and we saw the artificial turf for the first time. We were a team to reckon with. I only feel sad that 32 years down the line, the women`s hockey team has not qualified again for Olympics," Nelson pointed.

Three-time Olympian M M Somaya, who was part of the hockey team that won gold medal at the Moscow Games, said the feeling of winning sunk in much later.

"I was too young (20) to get that feeling sink in. I really felt the impact of winning the gold medal back home. We had an excellent coach in Balkishan Singh," Somaya said.

Meanwhile, former shuttler and two-time Olympian Aparna Popat said it was heartening to see a 23-member Indian women contingent at the London games.

Popat said she expected Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Deepika Kumari to climb the medal rostrum.

The 1990 Commonwealth Games gold medalist shooter, Ashok Pandit said that Indian marksmen had a great chance of finishing on the podium.

"This time we have the largest contingent. We have 11 shooters and as far as our chances are concerned, I can say we will win three medals, I don`t know which colour. It will depend on that day. We have Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang, but we should not forget about the girls. They also have a fair chance. Maybe one of the girls can win a medal," Pandit said.

Karan Rastogi said he is expecting at least one medal from the Indian tennis players.

"As far as tennis is concerned we have three or four options this year. This is the largest contingent we have had. Leander (Paes) and Sania (Mirza) would be the best bet to get a medal. Mahesh (Bhupathi) and Rohan (Bopanna) again, if they play well, then hopefully, we will have at least one medal this time," Rastogi said.

Former shuttlers Sanjay Sharma and Uday Pawar said Jwala Gutta will be the key, if she is fit and performs well in both ladies doubles and mixed doubles there could be a medal, but insisted India`s best bet would be in the singles with Sania Nehwal leading the charge.