The Indian hockey team’s recent tours of Europe and Argentina have given the side a fresh perspective in its preparations for the upcoming Olympics, feels young mid-fielder Vivek Sagar Prasad. India toured Argentina in March and Europe in February where they played against Germany and Great Britain.
India registered a 3-2 and 3-0 wins against reigning Olympic champions Argentina in the FIH Hockey Pro League matches and also secured 4-3, 4-4, 0-1 and 4-2 results in practice matches against the home team during their recent tour.
“These tours against world class teams have given us a fresh perspective in our preparations for the Olympic Games," said Prasad.
“Basis data received from these tours about our performance as a team and as individual players, we have all been given specific tasks by chief coach Graham Reid to work on and improve. I feel we are moving in the right direction ahead of the Olympics."
Earlier in the year, playing their first tour after one year, the team posted 6-1, 1-1 results against Germany followed by 1-1 and 3-2 results against Great Britain. Vivek emphasised that the team’s discipline and commitment towards training throughout last year, despite not playing competitive matches, is what has made the difference in its recent successful outings.
“We focused on fitness, focused on setting up good connection between midfield and forwardline, as well as work on keeping momentum high in the last quarter — all these things helped improve our performance." “We created different scenarios in training and didn’t let the fact that we weren’t getting any competition due to the pandemic affect our moral or rhythm," he said.
Having undergone mandatory quarantine after their return from Argentina, the core group will focus on their goals for the Olympics. “We see what is happening around us and feel extremely fortunate to even be able to train under these circumstances and stay focused on our goal to do well in Tokyo.
“We are really grateful to Hockey India and SAI for ensuring our training goes on uninterrupted and that we are safe within the bio-bubble created for us here," he said.