India hockey striker Mandeep Singh feels postponing the Tokyo Olympics was the right thing to do in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more so because it gives members of the Indian men’s hockey time more time to prepare for the Summer Games next year. Also Read - IPL 2020: 'This One is For Him', KXIP Opener Mandeep Singh Dedicates Match-Winning Knock to Late Father
The men’s team booked their place at the Olympics at the FIH qualifiers in November with a 7-1 win over Russia and although they now have to wait another year for the Games, Mandeep reckons rescheduling was the sensible thing to do. Also Read - IPL 2020: KXIP Opener Mandeep Singh Attended Father's Funeral Through Video Call
“Had it happened this year, many countries would have pulled out and it would be unsafe to hold the biggest show on earth during or just after a pandemic. The delay is a blessing in disguise. We can use the time until next year to be a much improved side,” Mandeep told Times of India. Also Read - KKR vs KXIP 2020, IPL Today Match Report: Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Mohammed Shami Propel Kings XI Punjab to Top Four in Points Table, Beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 8 Wickets
The men’s hockey team continues to be the SAI centre in Bengaluru as the nation continues to remain under a lockdown, and with chances of it extending, so does the players’ wait to go back home. Away from the turf, Mandeep reveals that the team is bonding and players are using this time to get better at the English language.
“I am with teammates and the team’s morale is good. We understand the seriousness of the situation and the decisions that have been taken (lockdown and restrictions) are in the best interest of everyone. The team bonding is even more amazing now. We get the chance to know each other better off the field, and discover our non-sporting aspects. It will help us when we get back on the field,” he said.
“We are working on our communication skills as a team or individually. We have started to read more, which is the best thing to do now. I have picked some good books and joined the distance communications class of Heide, who is a teacher in Australia. The course is going on well, and I am happy with my progress.”
That said, there is no lack of training or fitness sessions. Coach Graham Reid recently stated how each player has been assigned individual training programs and are abiding by it. Understanding the need of social distancing, Robin Arkell, the team’s scientific advisor has devised the idea of individual training.
“Robin has been a good influence on the team. Since he took over as scientific adviser, he has made individual fitness training schedules for us to follow inside the hostel. The physical routines include stretching, jogging, core exercises, and stepping,” said Mandeep.