The forward also revealed his excitement to play at the quadrennial event.
The Indian men’s hockey team will begin their campaign in Tokyo Olympics on 24 July when they take on New Zealand in their first-round robin league match. To gain the right momentum it will be very important to begin well, believes experienced forward Ramandeep Singh.
“A lot will depend on how we fair in the first match. A good result against New Zealand will set the right momentum for the rest of the tournament,” stated the Indian forward.
The Indian men’s hockey team are grouped in Pool A along with reigning Olympic Champions Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and hosts Japan. At the ongoing National coaching camp for the Olympic core group, the coaching Staff is replicating an atmosphere of international competition in SAI, Bengaluru where they are playing internal matches as part of the team selection process.
Ramandeep Singh remarked, “We are currently replicating the Olympic schedule, three teams with different combinations from within the group have been formed and the coaching staff has created an atmosphere that is similar to what it would be like at the Olympics. We wear the Indian kit, we get ready as though we are facing a tough international opponent, we do team activation (pre-match drills) just like we would before an international game and we also line-up for the national anthem before the start of the match.”
He further stated that there is a lot of excitement within the group as the team selection trials are underway. Ramandeep Singh said, “Of course, there is a lot of excitement within the group, and this exercise of replicating the Olympics’ schedule is also a good way to test our bodies with two back-to-back games and then a day’s rest.”
“We are paying attention to recovery when we have back-to-back matches and so on. Though we missed out on travelling for international matches due to the pandemic, I feel this exercise of playing internal matches is really bringing out the match-mentality to the fore.”
Speaking about his own performance this Olympics’ cycle, he said his knee injury in 2018 caused a setback to an otherwise good run. He said, “I think 2016 and 2017 for me were really good, I was in good form and was doing really well but the knee injury during Champions Trophy in 2018 was a big setback. It took me about six-seven months to recover and just when I had begun playing, I had an ankle injury. But mid 2019 onwards I have been doing well and I believe I have returned to my old form.”
He was also part of the Indian team that played in Europe but unfortunately, he suffered a cut on his hand that forced him out of the tour after the first game against Germany where India won 6-1.
“I also ended up missing the Argentina Tour due to this minor injury, I was rested for about 15-20 days. But now I feel I am in good nick,” Ramandeep concluded.