Part of the team that failed to make the Olympics four years ago in Chile, Indian striker Shivendra Singh knows the importance of the upcoming qualifiers for the quadrennial event as he feels London is probably his last chance to become an Olympian.
Shivendra was just 24 when India, for the first time in 80 years, failed to qualify for the Olympics after losing to Great Britain in the final of the qualifying tournament in Santiago, Chile.
And four years down the line, it seems the debacle is still fresh in Shivendra's mind when he said India's success in February 18-26 event was crucial to the national game's survival in the country.
"I was part of the team in Chile and I know how much it hurt us and the entire nation when we failed to qualify (for 2008 Olympics). Had we qualified, I would have been an Olympian by now," the 28-year-old forward from Uttar Pradesh said on Tuesday after the Indian team's practice session.
"So, this tournament (the qualifiers) is very important for us because if we miss this time then I don't know whether we will again get a chance (to be Olympians) or not," he said.
"If we don't qualify this time then hockey will almost die in our country," added Shivendra, who has 133 international caps under his belt.
Shivendra and his colleagues are aware of the enormity of the task at hand but they don't want to pout themselves under pressure in the qualifiers, beginning at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Friday.
"We talk a lot among ourselves (about the Chile incident) and how important this tournament is for us. But there is no pressure on us, instead we are motivated to do well," Shivendra said.
"We have a good chance of qualifying. We are playing lower ranked opponents at home and the crowd support will be behind us," he said.
India will play Canada, France, Poland, Italy and Singapore in the qualifiers for a lone spot in this year's London Games.
With just three days for the tournament to start, Shivendra said the home team's preparation was more or less over.
"We are now just concentrating on small things like speed, counter attacks, ball speed etc," he said.
"We will have different planning for different teams. Against teams like Italy and Poland we can win playing just simple hockey. But against Canada and France we have to think differently."
For chief coach Michael Nobbs, the upcoming qualification tournament is his biggest assignment with the Indian team and the Australian is already feeling the heat.
Asked whether he was having butterfiles in his stomach ahead of the event, Nobbs said, "Oh God! coaching is a terrible job. There will be little nervousness till we hit the field on Friday."