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Indian men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh hopes bronze medal at Olympics will ensure bright future

The midfielder credited the team camaraderie and bonding behind the result and added that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown proved to be a blessing in disguise.

Published: 11th August 2021 02:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2021 02:36 AM   |  A+A-

India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh (L) and Manpreet Singh (7) react after making a save against Germany in the final seconds of the men's hockey bronze medal match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh (L) and Manpreet Singh (7) react after making a save against Germany in the final seconds of the men's hockey bronze medal match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Indian men's hockey team broke its 41-year medal jinx at Tokyo and team captain Manpreet Singh hopes this feat will ensure the sport once again becomes popular among the masses. The national team's diminishing returns in the sport post 1980 meant very few kids took up the sport but now things will hopefully change for the better, Manpreet hoped. 

"It is a big thing for Indian hockey because after 41 years we won a medal. The last medal came before I was born and for a country with such a rich hockey heritage, it means a lot. I truly hope this will work as a big motivation for the future generation and they take up the sport." 

The midfielder credited the team camaraderie and bonding behind the result and added that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown proved to be a blessing in disguise. 

"We spent the entire quarantine period inside the SAI campus and we were together for a long time and that helped as we shared our experiences among each other, which in turn helped create strong bonds within the team." 

The player from Jalandhar also added that a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped restore the team's morale after their semifinal loss and that served as an added motivation ahead of their crucial bronze medal clash. "When we lost the semifinal, we all were feeling very low as our aim was to reach the final. Then our coach Graham Reid came and said the PM wants to talk with you and the PM asked us to forget what happened on that day and focus on the upcoming match and how the entire country was proud of us. That gave us a lot of positive energy." 

The skipper revealed that after a short break and celebration, the team will soon focus all their energy on the Asian Games, which will serve as Olympic qualifiers as well as the Commonwealth Games and World Cup which is scheduled to be held in India. 

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