Bhubaneswar: India finished fourth in the recently concluded six-nation Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Germany where Dilip Tirkey, this year's Arjuna awardee, captained a relatively young side. Tirkey's only regret is the manner in which India lost to Pakistan in the crucial match for the third spot in the last 10 minutes of play. "In the last match for bronze, we were playing very well and had dominated the game. We had got the goals when we needed them and we were leading by 3-1. But in the last 10 minutes, we conceded an unnecessary goal and Pakistan won. We committed blunders and failed to maintain the pressure till the end," says Tirkey. Nevertheless, Tirkey is quite happy about the quality of players in the team today. "For one, the team is full of young players. We have 13 players from the junior side that won the world championship and they have displayed energy and vigour in all the matches. Second, the team had a sense of unity of purpose," he maintains. Soft spoken and unassuming, Tirkey hails from Sundargarh in Orissa and presently works for Indian Airlines. He has played nearly 275 international matches in the junior and senior levels in the last eight years. Despite his achievements, he is unaffected by the fact that he has barely received the recognition he deserves. "I don't feel bad about not being mobbed by fans. I am proud and happy that I play hockey which is the national game. I am not at all affected by the fact that people don't seek my autograph. I enjoy my hockey," he says. Tirkey and his team are now gearing up to defend their gold medal at the Asian Games in South Korea. He hopes that the recent exposure to the playing techniques of major adversaries will help them perform better in the coming tournament.
Topics : Hockey