India youngest but most experienced at Santiago Olympic qualifiers

February 29th, 2008 - 1:45 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) India holds the distinction of being the youngest, with an average age of 23, and yet the most experienced squad at the six-team Santiago Olympic qualifier for hockey that starts Saturday in Santiago, Chile. The Indian team has an average of 88 International caps and Dilip Tirkey is the most capped player having featured in 363 internationals. The next most experienced team in the competition is Great Britain with an average of 85 caps. The team with the least international experience is Mexico with an average of 25 international caps.

The two oldest teams are hosts Chile and Great Britain, whose average age is 26 years.

Interestingly, the youngest player in the qualifier is also an Indian, 18-year-old Diwakar Ram who was born Dec 18, 1989; while the oldest player is Russian Igor Dobijine and Austrian Robert Buchta both at 35. However, Buchta is 27 days younger than Igor.

Of the dozen teenagers in the competition, three are Indians, but the Mexicans have the maximum number at four.

Incidentally, if India makes the cut for the Beijing Olympics, Dilip Tirkey will feature in his fourth Olympic Games, having already represented India at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, 2000 in Sydney and 2004 in Athens.

Of the six players in Santiago to have played more than 150 international matches, three of them are Indians - Dilip Tirkey (363), Ignace Tirkey (196) and Prabhjot Singh (172).

India also has the most Olympians in the tournament, four - Dilip Tirkey, Ignace Tirkey, Prabhjot Singh and William Xalco. There are only four other Olympians in the competition.

The Indian team also has a pair of brothers - one of the six in the tournament - and they are Prabodh and Ignace Tirkey - Dilip is not related to them.

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