Indian hockey team striker Mandeep Singh is excited to be back on the pitch and go about basic activities to improve fitness after recovering from Covid-19. He was the first player to be admitted in the hospital in the state capital and Mandeep has now recalled the experience as being one of the toughest times of his life.
Mandeep, along with Manpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Jaskaran Singh, Varun Kumar and Krishan B Pathak were the six players from the men's team who had tested positive for cororanvirus last month.
According to Mandeep, what helped them was the constant team-support and reassurances from Hockey India during the entire phase. "I think we had read and heard so much about the pandemic being a deadly disease, the first few days was stressful and anxious after testing positive for the virus. Although I have been in some of the most difficult match-situations as a professional hockey player, I had never felt this stressed."
"I was never taken away in an ambulance, never been seriously injured either. So, this phase was a new experience for me but I am really grateful to the constant team-support and Hockey India officials speaking with us individual to assure everything will be taken care of," he added.
The striker also said that after recovering, Hockey India provided all the infected players an option to return home to take a break, but the players wanted to stay back and rejoin the rest of the group.
Mandeep further emphasised that they have a good support system around them which is why returning to activities has been a smooth transition.
"We have a very good trainer in Robin Arkel and he knows exactly how much to push us. We are taking only 50-60 per cent of the regular work load at the moment and have just one session per day," he said.
"Chief coach Graham Reid is also constantly monitoring how we feel during a session. It feels good to be back with the rest of the group and I feel relieved to be fine and recovered fully."
With FIH Hockey Pro League restarting from Tuesday, Mandeep feels it's good that sporting activities have begun around the world. "Over the weekend, we watched brilliant IPL matches between Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians and then Delhi Capitals Vs Kings XI Punjab. Though we don't follow cricket very closely, it was exciting to watch these two matches. It brings a very positive energy especially when everything else has been halted due to the pandemic."
"I think watching live sports on TV will also give people who have endured a lot over the past six months, a reason to take their minds off their troubles for some time and enjoy the action. As a team we will also be watching the Germany vs Belgium hockey match tomorrow," he added.