BENGALURU: Bronze medallists from the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian men's hockey team resumed training at SAI Bengaluru on Monday. The team hit the turf for the first time after their podium finish at the Tokyo Games and looked all charged and pepped for their upcoming international engagements.
All covid protocol guidelines are strictly being adhered to in the camp. The players have gone through the Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and are staying in separate rooms as per the quarantine rule.
They are undergoing outdoor training in a different slot and are not mixing with other campers of SAI Bengaluru. The revised SOPs of the SAI allows for outdoor training.
The men's hockey team is likely to participate in the Asian Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in Dhaka in December this year, Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held in Birmingham in July 2022, Asian Games scheduled to be held in China in September 2022 and the World Cup, which India shall host in January 2023, before the Paris Olympics 2024.
Manpreet Singh, captain of the team, thanked the administration and the staff of SAI Bengaluru for working overtime to provide all facilities to the team during the prolonged training camp prior to the Tokyo Olympics
"I want to thank the entire staff of SAI Bangalore and the Regional Director on behalf of the entire team for the whole hearted support extended to the team even in difficult times," said Manpreet in a statement.
Head coach Graham Reid said that the team was returning to training after a well-deserved break and this initial camp shall help to reorient the players to their priorities in the coming months.
He expressed his happiness on the support extended to the players by SAI Bengaluru before the Tokyo Olympics despite the challenges of the Covid situation. "The boys are all excited to resume the training and we are looking at our future engagements," said the head coach.
Assistant coach of the team, Piyush Dubey said that the boys are now refocusing on future engagements after the euphoria of winning the bronze medal for the nation after 41 years in the Olympic hockey event.
"Our entire focus, for the time being, is on the Asian Champions Trophy in December this year and this month-long camp shall mainly target on improving the physical conditioning of the players," he mentioned.
The men's team was felicitated on their return to the campus of SAI Bengaluru in a grand manner on Monday. A felicitation function was organised in honour of the team.
The team was felicitated by the former regional heads of SAI Bengaluru including 1972 Olympic medalist MP Ganesh and ASV Prasad.
Both Ganesh and Prasad while praising the efforts of the players and the coaching staff in their performance in Tokyo said the expectation of the country had risen by their performance and the country expected them to change the colour of their medal in the Paris Olympics.
Ritu A Pathik, the Regional head of SAI Bengaluru, assured that SAI would extend all possible support to the team in all aspects of their training and thanked the team for making the country proud.
The entire program was conducted by the junior hockey players, who also asked interesting questions from the senior players regarding their Olympics journey in an interactive session with them.