With India men hockey squad already at the South Authority of India (SAI) in Bengaluru, their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics continue unhampered despite the coronaviurs pandemic. Head coach Graham Reid says that the team is isolated but the schedule of their training remains unchanged something which other countries haven’t been able to do so due to various reasons. Also Read - Delhi Capitals Speedster Anrich Nortje Tests COVID-19 Positive: Report
“The authorities were quick to take action and isolate the SAI Centre,” Reid told PTI. “We are isolated but we can carry out our normal schedule. Things are very smooth. We can’t control the virus but we can control our environment.” Also Read - Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Tests Positive For COVID-19, in Self Isolation
He continued, “Things are changing on a daily basis but one of the great thing is our ability to continue training which other countries don’t have. Australian players are based with their families and train in Perth. Argentines have a centralised program but I don’t think they are training at the moment where as, our entire group is together.” Also Read - Alia Bhatt Tests Negative For COVID-19: ‘The Only Time Being Negative Is A Good Thing’
The Indian team is trying different styles of hockey, maintaining international tempo while playing internal contests.
“We have 32 campers here and we can play competitive hockey against each other. We are playing internal games in international tempo. We are playing different styles of hockey everyday. One day, we are playing like Germany, the next day like Australia,” Reid said.
While India’s FIH Pro Hockey League away ties have been cancelled amid the outbreak, Reid said they are focused on training and awaiting instructions from Hockey India. “We are continuing what we can do best i.e play hockey in a closed and safe environment. We’re still waiting to hear from Hockey India and the government on their recommendations in the wake of the serious crisis. Definitely, we will have reorganise our Olympic preparation schedule,” he said.
The 55-year-old Australian though refused to comment whether Tokyo Olympics should be cancelled this year but said playing at the quadrennial event is every athletes’ dream.
“I have no comment to make whether Olympics should be postponed or not, it is up to the IOC and Tokyo Games organisers. But Olympics is something special, every athlete dreams to be a part of the event some day. Things are gloomy everywhere in the wake of the pandemic but Reid and his boys have managed to keep their motivation level high and the coach believes India can finish on the podium in Tokyo, provided they play according to their capability,” he said.
“In these circumstances you have to maintain positive mental attitude. The boys gel in each other’s company and the Olympics is certainly enough motivation. We now have belief after playing 3 Pro League matches against top 3 teams in the world. Olympics is different but if we play our best, everything is possible,” he added.
Reid’s wife is with him in Bengaluru, his son is in Amsterdam and daughter in Australia.
“My son is in Amsterdam but Amsterdam is reasonably under control. He is safe and sound. He loves sitting in his room so that’s not a problem for him. My daughter is in Perth and she is a physiotherapist so she can take care of herself. But as a father, you will always be worried and caring for your kids,” he said.