As the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics by a year earlier today, Indian team coaches started preparing their players accordingly for the delay.
Though the Indian hockey men’s team coach Graham Reid was looking forward to playing at the Tokyo Olympics this year, he claims the postponement will give him more time to prepare his players.
“The positive in this situation for us is that we have another year to work with this young squad,” he told Hockey India. “We will now rework our programme and be ready for International competition as soon as restrictions are lifted.
“I’m excited to think about what this team can do with another year under its belt.”
Meanwhile, the Indian hockey women’s team, which shares the facilities at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus in Bengaluru with their male counterparts, also echoed similar sentiments.
“The girls' motivation is undeterred by this announcement and we will continue to look at the positives and work hard to be our best,” said their coach Sjoerd Marijne.
“I am sure once the situation around COVID-19 improves, we will sit down with Hockey India management to plan out a fresh calendar for the preparations leading up to the Olympics next year.”
Better to postpone by a year: Gopichand
Indian badminton national team coach Pullela Gopichand felt that postponing, which entails rescheduling to ‘a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021’ was better than doing so for a few months.
“This is an unprecedented scenario but it’s beyond sport. One year is a long, good enough time,” he told ESPN.
The former player believed that ‘recalibrating’ the training schedules of players who were trying to peak in July, the original date of the Tokyo Olympics, would have been affected had the Olympics been postponed to November but now they can follow a similar plan for 2021.
With training centres forced to lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, Pullela Gopichand revealed he kept the Indian badminton players ready by sharing videos and encouraging them to self-train.
And with the new schedule, he was also ready to tackle any new qualification scenarios for the Tokyo Olympics that will be decided in due course.
“I don't know what the qualification path will look like now, but we have to take it as it comes,” he concluded.