The Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams will resume training from Wednesday in the national camp.

The Indian hockey team’s two-week long quarantine period will conclude on Tuesday. The men’s and women’s sides will resume training from Wednesday in the national camp that will last until the end of September. Senior player Somwarpet Vittalacharya Sunil (SV Sunil) reflected on the last 14 days that the squad spent at the Sports Authority of India’s National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru.

The forward spoke to IANS and remarked, “I think what we all realized from these past two weeks was the fact that we all needed to be really strong mentally and to make sure that we were always in touch with our friends, family and teammates.” The 31-year-old further stressed that self-isolation tests an individual’s patience. He admitted to have understood the experiences of people who have had to spend time in quarantine centres in the last few months.

“Sometimes you don’t realize how much effort goes into something, but after having lived in isolation, I can relate to what everyone who has lived in quarantine centres or home isolation has gone through. It is a great challenge of mental strength and really tests your patience. So, I have tremendous respect for people who have managed to get through such phases during the pandemic,” the player observed.

On the insistence of the support staff, the athletes engaged in several team-bonding sessions to keep themselves occupied during the previous couple of weeks. The Arjuna Awardee expressed that it is not plausible to consistently watch TV or play games on the phone throughout the entirety of the day. The players were also given an indoor fitness schedule to follow amidst their isolation period.

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SV Sunil explained, “We were asked to do some research on the greatest Olympians ever, and then present to the team on our video calls. It was a nice activity, as we learned a fair bit from all the players choosing various legends and talking in detail.” Describing the fitness schedule that they followed, the former Punjab Warriors player stated, “So, we have been having one hour sessions in the morning over video call, where all the players join in and follow what our scientific advisor and physio asks us to do. It has been a different experience to do it over video call for sure.”

He also affirmed to have relished taking part in the stretching and foam rolling activities. Gradually, teams and contenders from different sports in India seem to be returning back to their respective training regimes and preparations after a long break that was enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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