The veteran goalkeeper also informed about the current schedule of the Indian men’s hockey team at SAI Bengaluru.
Last November, the Indian men’s Hockey team booked their place at the Tokyo Olympics and would have been fairly optimistic of their chances of securing a medal at the Olympics 2020 if it was not postponed till next year. The development hit the Indian men’s hockey team hard, as was revealed by seasoned goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.
After last winning a gold in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, their wait for another triumph prolongs for another year. Speaking about the postponement of the Olympics, PR Sreejesh said, “It’s disappointing that the Olympics has been postponed. We have been focusing only on the Olympics in the last one year. We qualified for the Olympics and started very well at the FIH Hockey Pro League, but then the COVID-19 crisis began and everything changed.”
“It’s disappointing that the Olympics has been postponed but when you take the health and safety of the players into consideration, the best thing to do is to postpone the games instead of canceling it,” he further added.
Despite the uncertainty of the entire situation, the keeper has affirmed that the side is laser-focused on the task ahead and is doing their utmost best to maintain their fitness levels amidst the lockdown.
“Everyone is preparing mentally for the Olympics. We need to focus, work really hard from Day 1 and we need to focus for 365-400 days to achieve something. The schedule for the next tournament is not confirmed yet.
“We need to keep ourselves fit at the moment and not worry about what is going to happen in one year. So now we have to focus on general fitness drills and stay in the present. We can’t change what is not in our control.”
With the lockdown being imposed all over India at the end of March, the squad is currently residing at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) center in Bengaluru as they are trying to practice social distancing without compromising on their fitness regime.
“The players are carrying out general fitness drill and bodyweight exercises in our rooms. We are trying to do all exercises in a group of two and avoid contact with people as much as we can.”
One of the rare positives from the current circumstances is that it offers the coaching staff as well as the players a chance to review their previous performances and work on the minor details in order to fine-tune their displays.
“We are carrying out post-mortem for our previous matches. There is a software called My PTA, wherein we can analyse our previous matches. We watch the videos in our rooms and give our feedback. We answer questions online given to us by the coaches. That’s what we are doing to stay in touch with hockey.”
PR Sreejesh had also revealed that the side is showing great maturity, adhering to the instructions provided by the Prime Minister, and have been particularly careful with their hygiene methods.
“Everyone knows the situation now, rather than worrying about the situation, everyone is trying to understand the situation. The players are really matured and are following all instructions by the Prime Minister, coaching staff and the authorities at SAI. That’s the positive sign shown by the players. Everyone is being distant from each other. We keep a distance in the canteen and only two persons sit at one table. We are doing everything in a very hygienic way so that none of us get infected.”
PR Sreejesh had also urged people to act responsibly for the sake of one and more importantly for the others before stressing the importance of staying indoors in the fight against the pandemic.
“My message to the people is that this situation is not about anyone else, it”s about us. Sometimes we say that this is not my responsibility, it”s someone else”s responsibility. This time it”s my responsibility to keep away from the coronavirus and help others to stay away from the infection. Personal hygiene is the best away to prevent this virus and it”s most important to stay indoors.”