The Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams experienced started out the calendar year with an intention to complete on the podium at 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that would stop the country’s 40-year medal drought at the worlds most important sports activities extravaganza, but the Olympics were being postponed to 2021 thanks to Covid-19. India very last gained a hockey gold medal in hockey at 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Considering the fact that then, the men’s crew has participated in 8 Olympic Online games with no producing it to the podium. In Rio, the men’s team concluded a dismal eighth.
The men’s team, which rose to fourth place in the Worldwide Hockey Federation’s (FIH) entire world rankings this year, preserved that posture with 2,063.78 points in the year-end list and would enter 2021 as the fourth-ranked team.
Prior to the hockey actions came to a halt in March because of to Covid-19, the Indian men’s hockey workforce took portion in its maiden FIH Professional League marketing campaign, taking part in six online games in opposition to formidable groups like reigning world champions Belgium, Olympic silver medallists the Netherlands, and Australia.
The Indian group had produced an emphatic commence to their FIH Pro League marketing campaign with a 5-2 and 3-3 (3-1) wins against the Netherlands, adopted by a 2-1 get and 3-4 decline in opposition to Belgium, and 3-4 reduction and 2-2 (3-1) earn from Australia, ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic halted the competition.
Just after that, the players ended up confined in a bio-protected atmosphere at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) facility in Bengaluru the place they carried out their schooling when the procedures ended up calm by the government in August.
All through this time, 6 of the players, which include captain Manpreet Singh, received infected with the virus. Aside from him, Surender Kumar, Jaskaran Singh, Varun Kumar and Krishan Pathak experienced also been diagnosed with Covid-19.
“I consider we had read through and listened to so considerably about the pandemic becoming a fatal illness, the very first number of times was tense and anxious just after screening positive for the virus. Even though I have been in some of the most challenging match-predicaments as a expert hockey participant, I experienced never ever felt this pressured,” Mandeep experienced said about his practical experience in quarantine. “I was hardly ever taken away in an ambulance, hardly ever been significantly hurt possibly. So, this stage was a new working experience for me.”.
India’s marketing campaign in the ongoing Professional League would restart on April 10 and 11 with a tie from Argentina absent from home. India will then play Fantastic Britain on Could 8 and 9, again away from household, prior to travelling to Spain where they participate in on Might 12 and 13. They then deal with Germany away on May perhaps 18 and 19 and will lastly participate in a home tie on May perhaps 29 and 30 towards New Zealand.
Skipper Manpreet thinks again-to-again matches will be the ideal litmus test for the staff ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
“I sense just after the four-7 days hole involving our matches against Argentina and Terrific Britain, we will engage in again-to-again matches pretty much every weekend right until the close of May well and that is the form of momentum we are hunting for in advance of the Olympic Online games,” he experienced stated.
“We will check our overall body and head during this time to see how we can cope the tension of taking part in again-to-again substantial intensity video games and handle the load nicely. This will be great test for us in advance of the Olympics.”
On the other hand, the women’s group created only its second Olympic appearance in 2016 in Rio, but finished a inadequate 12th. The group, which qualified for the 2020 Olympics final year, were being envisioned to make a mark in Tokyo. But the Olympics were postponed, and will now be held from July 23 to August 8.
The women’s staff was rated ninth with 1,543 details in the calendar year-finish rankings. The very first time they reached a higher of ninth posture was in 2018.
The girls unsuccessful to qualify for the Pro League. They did not enjoy any competitive game titles in 2020, and travelled to New Zealand for a five-match follow tour in January. The Rani Rampal-led side registered earn from New Zealand Improvement Squad (4-) in their opening match. The Indian eves then missing two matches 1-2 and -1 to the New Zealand national crew. Following that, India received 1- win towards Excellent Britain. In the previous match of the tour, India defeated New Zealand 3-, ending their tour on a significant.
Following the tour, like the men’s crew, they also took aspect in the countrywide camp at SAI Bengaluru centre amid the Covid-19 pandemic and focussed on their health and sharpening talent as element of their Olympic planning.
Indian women’s team will get started their Olympic marketing campaign in opposition to globe champions the Netherlands following yr. Though India has not confronted the Dutch workforce in any main tournament in the new past, they are knowledgeable of how the group plays.
With equally main mentor Sjoerd Marijne as effectively as analytical coach Janneke Schopman are from the Netherlands, the duo is well-versed with the playing model of the Dutch nationwide crew.
“We have not played the Netherlands countrywide group in the recent earlier but we adhere to their matches intently and we stop up chatting to coaches Sjoerd and Janneke about the team’s taking part in fashion,” vice-captain Savita has explained.
“Since each coaches are from the Netherlands, they have a lot of awareness about how the crew performs. Netherlands are definitely intense and tactically quite sound. Our first match at the Olympics will certainly be challenging,” she additional.
Previous India captain Dhanraj Pillay believes the Indian women’s team can gain the elusive Olympic medal up coming calendar year.
“We have a person of the very best captains in Rani. I consider Rani and purpose-keeper Savita can consider the team to a podium complete. The crew is doing work genuinely challenging, getting ready for the Olympics, and am assured of a good demonstrate,” he has claimed.
And going by the general performance of both of those the men’s and women’s teams in the previous two decades, supporters can safely hope a fantastic show in Tokyo upcoming yr.