Tokyo Olympics 2020: Disappointed with Games getting postponed but motivation not affected, says hockey captain Manpreet Singh
Manpreet Singh and Rani Rampal, captains of India hockey teams, expressed disappointment with the postponement of Olympics but plan to use the grace period to improve further.
Captains of the Indian hockey teams Manpreet Singh and Rani Rampal have both expressed disappointment with the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics but are committed to their goals. The Games were moved until summer of 2021 on Tuesday after a joint discussion between Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Olympics organisers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), led by President Thomas Bach.
In the face of the development, most athletes have expressed relief considering practice efforts have been severely affected due to the coronavirus. Sporting calendar has been brought to a halt across the world and athletes had expressed inability to train regularly while calling for the Olympics to be moved from the planned dates of 24 July - 9 August this year.
The hockey teams were stationed in Bengaluru for a camp when the news came in of Olympics being postponed. "We had just finished the day's evening session when Chief Coach Graham Reid informed us about the postponement of the Olympic Games. 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," said Manpreet.
Men's hockey team have had to stay back in the country after their away fixtures in Europe for the FIH Pro League were called off. The squad, while going through their paces nonetheless were trying to stay upbeat to continue to put in the hard yards for the big event next year.
"I think the news is yet to sink in for us. We were mentally gearing up for our first match on 25th July 2020, so the disappointment is surely there but it is important for us to now look at the positives. Over the past ten months, we have grown as a team under Chief Coach Graham Reid and I believe we will only continue to build on our form under him in the next one year. Our motivation has not been affected by this announcement. 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," added the midfielder further appealing to all Indian Hockey Fans to stay safe."
Speaking on behalf of the women's squad, skipper Rani Rampal emphasised that her side will utilise the postponed period to hone their skills further.
"We were already in a meeting when Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne received the news and broke it to us on Tuesday evening. Personally, I was very disappointed because the team was in good rhythm to do well at the Tokyo Olympics. But 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" Rani said.
The Indians scored four goals apiece in the first two quarters before returning back to pump in five more in the last two quarters.
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