NEW DELHI, Jan 17: India’s field hockey chiefs on Thursday appointed renowned Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans as high-performance director in a bid to regain the nation’s old glory in the sport.

“It is an important step to ensure that a strategic programme is in place for our senior and junior men and women teams,” Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra said of the appointment.

Oltmans, 58, has been credited with helping the Dutch team win the gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, besides World Cup and Champions Trophy titles.

Oltmans will work alongside national coach Michael Nobbs of Australia to revive the country’s fortunes in a sport it once dominated.

India, who won the last of their Olympic hockey golds in 1980, failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games and finished last in London in 2012.

Oltmans said he was confident the standard of field hockey in India would improve.

“I strongly believe that there is a lot of talent in India, and with a proper plan in place, we will be able to raise the level of Indian hockey in the near future,” Oltmans said in a Hockey India statement.

Oltmans is currently coaching the Uttar Pradesh Wizards franchise in the ongoing Hockey India League.—AFP

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