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THOMAS BRIELS: Another Pro hockey doctor (12/4/2018)
--s2h team
The genial Thomas Briels of Belgium national hockey team belies his ruthless sharp-shooting skills on the hockey pitch. undefined

The 31-year-old Belgian striker with over 300 international caps is central to his country’s great big ambition of winning a major global title after settling for silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In Bhubaneswar for the World Cup, Briels looks at the huge challenge that playing India in their own backyard presents.

“It is difficult playing India in India. They are lifted by 15,000 fans. But we are prepared to play in front of so many,” he said. undefined

“We lost twice to India in recent times here (Kalinga Stadium),” he reflected. “We lost 2-4 in the 2014 Champions Trophy after leading 2-0 and again in the HWL Finals in the shootout last year."

Briels, a podiatrist (one who diagnoses conditions affecting the foot) when not playing hockey, looks forward to the FIH Pro League. “It will be interesting, will mean lots of travelling and can boost hockey but nobody knows how it will go so we have to wait and see,” he said.

Briels exudes a passion for the game. He is one of triplets and his brother and sister played the game too. So had his mother and uncles.


He began playing at four at KHC Dragons and his consummate skill and ability saw him debut at 17 for KHC Dragons, one of Belgium’s top clubs.

Briel’s precocious talent took him to top Dutch club Oranje-Zwart who he helped win the league title and has reportedly backed the Hockey India League which he opines boosts a player’s stocks both on and off the pitch.

Its worthwhile to observe here that Briels' team stopped Indian juggernaut with an opportunistic equalizer before just four minutes left in the clock. Kalinga stadium thus could not witness Indian hat-trick transpiring. This cannot take away the sheen of the match the Red Lions showcased the other day.

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