Nilakanta Sharma is probably the most hardworking player in the Indian Men’s hockey team. He was impressive in the Tokyo Olympics in midfield as the Indians created history by winning an Olympics medal after 41 years.
The 26-year-old has featured in over 50 matches for India but he still believes that there is room for improvement. Sharma understands the importance of the 2022 calendar as he said, “I have had some time to introspect about my own performance over these past few years with the Senior team. I think I have been very fortunate to have played along with some of the best players in India and have been able to learn a lot from them. I always like to keep things simple and execute what is expected of me from the team. Each player is assigned a certain role by the coach and I just try to stick to it.”
Nilakanta made his senior debut in 2017 and since then he has been an integral part of the national team. However, he firmly believes that his game requires a lot of improvement as he hopes to build on this performance in Tokyo. “I believe there is a lot of scope for me to improve my own game from here on and build on this performance in Tokyo. It was absolutely an incredible feeling to win the bronze medal and I have received a lot of love from the people of Manipur all through my career, ” the Indian national team midfielder added.
“Definitely there is a lot of potential for Manipur Hockey to grow further. A lot of good things are happening in the state and the emphasis is on creating good infrastructure. I hope my performance in Tokyo has inspired more youngsters from my state to take up hockey,” he highlighted how Manipur as a state has the potential to grow in hockey.
The national coaching camp starts soon in SAI, Bengaluru and Nilakanta is eager to start again after enjoying a nice break after the Summer Games.
“We will now sit down as a team and analyse our performance in the Olympics. I personally like these team meetings because everyone contributes and gets to put across their views. We discuss what worked for us as a team and what didn’t. Also, there is so much to learn from the leadership group which includes the senior players and I am looking forward to returning to Camp,” he concluded.