London, Jul 18: Legendary Dutch hockey coach Roelant Oltmans said it would be great for India if it bagged a semi-final berth at the London Olympics but a realistic chance for the Indians will be to finish in the top six. Oltmans is here as the overall technical delegate of the Dutch Olympic contingent.
He said India would face a tough challenge in their very first match which is against the Netherlands, one of the top favourites. The 52-year-old coach felt India's performance in hockey is important for the sport across the globe. Hockey has a great tradition and India is an important part of it, he said.
Oltmans also praised the Indian coach, Michael Nobbs, saying the latter was doing a good job and particularly after the disappointment in 2008 when India failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. "This time, India played convincingly in the qualifiers," he said.
The legendary coach was in India earlier this year as the coach of the Delhi team in the World Series Hockey. However, no Indian probables were present there and that deprived him of meeting players in India's Olympic squad. Oltmans said the world series was a good concept and he would come back next year.
Oltmans was a successful coach with both the Dutch men's and women's teams. It was under his guidance that the women's team became world champions in 1990 and the men's team bagged the Olympic gold in 1996. The men's team also won the 1998 World Cup under his coaching. He coached Pakistan at the 2004 Athens Games and returned with his home men's team a year later for the Beijing Games.
Oltmans was very successful with both men's and women's teams. He was with the women's team from 1989 and 1993 and coached the World champion team in 1990.