Incheon: Still revelling in India's triumph against Pakistan in the Asian Games hockey final, "The Wall of Indian Hockey" goalkeeper PR Sreejesh said that he had entered the field with an intuition to win but keeping his emotions under check was the key to a great performance.
"When I entered the ground the only thought came in my mind was that we have to win this and we can win this. I had the intuition that it will be our day and we will create history," Sreejesh told PTI Bhasha from Incheon, South Korea. (Medal Tally)
A spirited India edged past defending champions Pakistan 4-2 in a nerve-wracking shoot-out to regain the Asian Games men's hockey gold after a gap of 16 years and also sealed a direct entry into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Hero of the match Sreejesh, who excelled in regulation time and shoot out as well, said that handling pressure is always key.
"There was pressure as it was a match against Pakistan but I took it as any other normal match. Everyone including me did not let emotions dominate us and we played with passion .
That was our key to success," he said.
It was not an easy task to cope up with additional pressure while playing the final against a side which had also beaten them in the league phase, but Sreejesh opined that the first loss was an eye opener.
"The loss against Pakistan in pool phase was an eye opener . After that we worked harder and were more focused that resulted in semifinal win against strong team like Korea," he said.
Asked about the heart-breaking 1-7 Asian Games final loss against Pakistan in 1982, Sreejesh said that the present win will wipe out all the bad memories.
"Of course, people like to remember good things, good memories. I am sure that they will now remember this win and forget past losses. It is the beginning of a new era," he said.
Sreejesh also admitted that the expectations will be higher now and said that the team is ready to deliver.
"We know that people will expect us to win more. They want us to do well in Rio Olympic and we are ready to deliver.
We have defeated Pakistan, won Asiad gold and qualified for Olympics so this is a 3-in-1 victory for us. We have enough time to prepare for Olympic and won't let our countrymen down," he said.
When asked about how they celebrated the win, he said that actual celebration will happen in India.
"We went out for dinner yesterday but actual celebration will happen in India . May be in our next camp," he said.