Though disappointed with the Olympics being pushed further due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian hockey teams have assured that a sudden change in plans won’t alter their focus as they continue their preparations for the Games.
Speaking after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach’s announcement, Manpreet Singh, the captain of the Indian hockey men’s team said that though news of the postponement was ‘yet to sink’ with the team, they will have to ‘look at the positives’ going ahead.
“We were mentally gearing up for our first match on 25th July 2020, so the disappointment is surely there,” said Manpreet Singh in a statement released by Hockey India.
“Though, somewhere at the back of our minds, we anticipated this could happen considering the impact COVID-19 has made across the globe, we had never let it affect our training or the intensity needed in every session.”
Rani Rampal wants to get to the next level
he Indian hockey women’s team was in a meeting with chief coach Sjoerd Marijne when the news came through. Though their skipper Rani Rampal admitted that she was disappointed to hear about the postponement, she wanted to use the upcoming months to help take the team’s game to the next level.
“If you see our team's performance in the past two years in specific, we have grown from strength to strength, challenging every top team in the world. We are looking at this postponement as a positive to continue to work hard and take our game to the next level,” said Rani Rampal.
Traversing through a difficult time like the one that the Indian hockey teams find themselves in today, the captains agreed that it was paramount that the team stayed true to their ultimate goal and not let them lose focus.
“Over the past ten months, we have grown as a team and I believe we will only continue to build on our form under him in the next one year,” said Manpreet Singh. “As a team, we will continue to remain committed to our goal of becoming a better side and bring back the glory days for hockey in India.”
Banking on Janneke Schopman expertise
“This also gives us more time with Janneke (Schopman) who has been a fantastic addition to the support staff and her experience as an Olympic gold medallist is very inspiring for us. Both Sjoerd and Janneke's combination is very effective and we are confident of moving up the ladder under their guidance.” Rani Rampal added.
With an Olympics still to chase proving to be a motivation in itself, the Indian hockey teams are determined to make the most of the unexpected time that they have got due to the postponement.