New Delhi: Coronavirus has affected the society at large, and unsurprisingly, it has also upended all sporting events around the world.
Indian men’s hockey team’s captain Manpreet Singh also tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to self quarantine.
Although COVID-19 has made the situations very challenging and it will be difficult to immediately get back into form once full-fledged training starts.
Singh is confident the virus won’t derail his team’s aim of finishing on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics.
Excerpts of an interview with Sports Lounge:
What have been the effects of lockdown on Olympics preparations?
MS: The lockdown has definitely made our situation very challenging. We have stayed away from the hockey pitch for a long period and we will certainly have to give ourselves enough time to get back into the form that we were in prior to the lockdown.
We have to ensure that we don’t rush into things and take on one practice session at a time. We have been focussing on our fitness in the last few months and that will definitely help us get back into our top form.
As the captain what sort of role will you play for the team once full-scale training starts?
MS: It’s going to be challenging for all of us to get back into the form that we were in before the lockdown. As captain, I will be working closely with the coaches to ensure that no player is exerting more than required.
We have to take small steps and ensure that we are growing every day. When we have a better idea about our international schedule in the near future, we can plan our training drills accordingly.
After lockdown, less than a year is left for the Tokyo Olympics, what will be your strategies for preparations?
MS: We will be focussing on basic drills once we start our full-fledged practice. We have to ensure that every player is moving forward slowly and all of us shouldn’t rush our progress.
Our main concern is that nobody should get injured while we try to get back into top form. Our coaches will devise a plan with short targets and we will keep reassessing our progress as we go along.
What will be the target of Indian team in Tokyo?
MS: We certainly have the potential to win a medal at the Olympics. We have competed well against the top sides in the recent past. However, we can’t think too far ahead yet.
First, we have to get back to our top form and then start thinking about our targets at the Olympics. Once we start playing international matches, we will know on what aspects we need to improve upon and we will also know when would be the right time to hit our peak.