India’s hockey workforce shall be impressed of their bid for Olympic glory by the heroes of the game who misplaced their lives within the coronavirus pandemic, says goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.
India as soon as dominated males’s discipline hockey, successful eight Olympic golds between 1928 and 1980, however have since didn’t win a single medal of any color.
India are nonetheless Asia’s high workforce however at the moment are ranked fourth on this planet behind Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The workforce feels the load of historical past.
Two members of India’s final Olympic gold medal-winning workforce, Ravindra Pal Singh and Maharaj Krishan Kaushik, died from Covid on the identical day in Might.
Keshav Datt, who was a part of successful groups in 1948 and 1952, died final week however his loss of life was as a result of age-related sickness.
“These heroes had been all the time there in our coronary heart and they are going to be there,” Sreejesh advised AFP.
“It’s a tribute to them once we are heading to the Tokyo Olympics. That is the time to recollect their onerous work, their contribution to Indian hockey.
“And so they created historical past for us, they introduced lots of glory for us. So that is the least we will do, to play higher hockey within the Tokyo Olympics.”
– Hockey heroes –
Hockey greats Dhyan Chand and KD Singh Babu had been the celebrities as India gained six straight Olympic tournaments between 1928 and 1956.
5 of their eight triumphs got here after India’s independence from British rule in 1947.
Sreejesh, who shall be showing at a 3rd Olympics, stated India’s wealthy hockey historical past provides the workforce, beneath coach Graham Reid and captain Manpreet Singh, added inspiration.
“That historical past provides you braveness,” stated the 33-year-old. “We should always imagine in that, take a look at our historical past, take inspiration from that and simply go and play our greatest in Tokyo.”
The Sreejesh-led Indian workforce crashed out within the quarter-finals on the 2016 Rio Olympics, however the veteran goalkeeper believes the workforce is best ready now.
“The expertise provides you extra confidence and the preparation provides you the power to face any Olympic occasion,” he stated.
Sreejesh stated the time misplaced to pandemic lockdowns had additionally made the gamers’ resolve stronger.
“We had been caught within the coaching centre and had been in a bio-bubble,” he stated.
“However now, heading into the Olympics, I really feel that the entire sacrifice we made over the past one-and-a-half years goes to assist us as a result of life taught us the best way to drive this.”
Sreejesh stated the workforce is aiming for a medal however will take “one sport at a time” in Tokyo.
“When the Olympics are close to then there is only one dream, to be a part of historical past, so sooner or later, the youngsters, the folks discuss that there was one hockey workforce in 2021 who performed the Tokyo Olympics and there was a goalkeeper whose title was Sreejesh.
“I simply wish to hear that so my youngsters and fogeys shall be proud and say that’s my dad standing on the podium.”
Hockey stays India’s nationwide sport however has slipped within the recognition stakes behind cricket, which may boast glamour and riches.
However Sreejesh believes competitors from cricket will solely drive hockey gamers as they try and make their approach again into followers’ hearts with some assist from TV.
“I generally really feel the followers are usually not capable of watch hockey sufficient as there’s much less telecast on TV,” stated Sreejesh.
“But when anyone is there in entrance of you then there’s further power to chase them, to combat with them or get stage with them. I believe cricket helps us to enhance.
“We’ll combat to win and our medals will assist our sport acquire extra consideration and extra recognition. And I hope sooner or later our efficiency will appeal to lot of kids to the sport of hockey.”
Learn all of the Newest Information, Breaking Information and Coronavirus Information right here