Indian Men’s Hockey team captain Manpreet Singh wants to stop celebrating the historic Olympic bronze medal win and start planning for a very busy 2022 schedule with the Asian Games around the corner.
The Indian Men’s team showed tremendous grit and determination to return home with an Olympics medal breaking India’s 41 year jinx at the Summer Games. While the hockey players were celebrated and felicitated all over the country, Manpreet wants to shift the focus back in hockey as it has already been a month since the bronze medal win.
“I think these past few weeks have been great with people showering us with all their love and praises. Now, I feel it’s time we rest our bodies and mind,” the India skipper said in a release issued by Hockey India.
“We have enjoyed all the felicitations, the honour and accolades we received has been overwhelming but now we must start thinking about how to better ourselves for the 2022 calendar.”
The main target for the Men in blue will be to prepare for the Asian Games which is going to be held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China from September 10 to 25 next year. The team will be eager to win the gold at the continental stage so that they can earn automatic qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“Last time, we ended up with a Bronze and lost out on winning the automatic qualification. We were lucky to have the FIH Olympic qualifying matches in India. But we can’t depend on the same again,” he said.
“The best would be for us to qualify by winning the Asian Games, so it gives us right amount of time to prepare for 2024 Olympics.”
The Indian skipper also addressed the growth in Women’s hockey as well. He highlighted how the Indian Eves performed out of their skins to reach the semifinals. He feels that this is the beginning of a new generation in hockey for India.
“I truly feel this is a new beginning for Indian hockey. With the women’s team too doing so well at the Olympics, hockey is witnessing the same kind of support it once had,” he said
“I was told many people from different professions woke up early to see our matches just like they would back in the glory days when Indian hockey fans would stay glued to the radio to hear the commentary,” he added.
“I feel this fanbase we have earned after the Olympics is great for the sport in general and now it is on us to give these fans bigger and better feats to ensure their supports continues and the popularity of hockey grows further.”