Training for Rio with the Indian Hockey teamOn September 25, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
My name is Manpreet Singh, I am a midfielder for India’s Hockey team. We’re currently in Bengaluru at our training camp as we prepare for Rio. We’re focusing on a lot of different aspects in our training. We’re trying to address our weaknesses from previous matches. Dynamic running, working on our press and particularly for me, I’m working on my role as the penalty corner stopper and do extra training at 4pm. We currently have many junior members in our team so it’s my main responsibility to hold the team together. The senior players such as Sreejesh, Rupinder Pal, SV Sunil are very helpful in this aspect. The youngsters too are responding well and acting professionally both on and off the field. We’re also really happy that this time we’re not going alone. I’m the vice captain of the Indian Women’s team. I play both as a defender and a midfielder. This morning we were training in the park and it was really tough. We’re actually getting a little scared of going to the park now. But it’s all good. All in the name of improving our game. Our first dream has always been to qualify for the Olympics. When I came into the camp in 2007, I was just a junior, but even the seniors at the time dreamt of qualifying. We’d got to the Commonwealth Games and the Asian games but the Olympics had always eluded us. So now our goal is to perform well in the Olympic Games. Since qualifying our life has changed a bit, the media are more interested in us now. But we get motivated by this. It’s all good but let’s see if it continues after the Olympics. Historically India have done really well in the past and won many medals. It’s quite a big deal so to get into the Indian team is an achievement in itself. For me, when I hear my name announced in the 16 or 18 man team, I’m really happy. Because to be selected from the population of India, it really is an achievement. Hockey is in my blood, my grandfather, uncle and brother all played at international level. As a kid, instead of toys, I would play Hockey. It is a passion I have had since I was a kid and knew it was something I was going to pursue. Yes, we’re happy but not completely satisfied with our game. We want to improve even more. Hockey is actually our national sport. I’d say if we can do well in the Olympics and even bring back a medal, the nation will follow us.