Indian Hockey coaches: Disappointed but will prepare better now

Despite the disappointment of Tokyo 2020 being postponed, Indian Hockey coaches Graham Reid and Sjoerd Marijne are focusing on preparations for next summer.

Both the men's and women's teams are in National Camp at the Sports Authority of India's Bengaluru campus and are expected to be there till April 15.

Hockey India has announced that it will set systems in place for both women's and men's teams' preparations to be on track for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The national hockey body has said that despite disappointment over the development, priority is to work with Chief Coaches of both teams to work out a new schedule to keep the momentum going until next summer.

"We have informed the Chief Coaches about the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games. Of course there is a sense of disappointment but the COVID-19 situation is unprecedented and has impacted the entire world. We will, however, continue our pursuit along with the Indian Olympic Association, Ministry, Youth Affairs & Sports and Sports Authority of India to achieve success at the Olympic Games and our goals remain unchanged," HI President Mohammed Mushtaque Ahmad said in a statement.

READ: Delayed Olympics will still be called 'Tokyo 2020': Governor

Men's team coach Graham Reid insists on looking at the positives in the situation.

"It is very disappointing that the Olympics will not go ahead in 2020, but given the unprecedented circumstances facing the world at present it is totally understandable and expected. I feel sorry for all the athletes who have dedicated the last 4 years of their life for this, however postponement rather than cancellation will give most of them enough motivation to continue to push through this tough period," he said.

Reid emphasised that the focus now is to be prepared for International competition as soon as restrictions are lifted. With victories again three top teams in the FIH Hockey Pro League, the head coach hopes the momentum sustains.

"The positive in this situation for us is that we have another year to work with this young squad. We are lucky that SAI has provided us with a safe environment and that we can continue to train. Unlike many other countries, there is no time lost for us. We will now rework our programme and be ready for International competition as soon as restrictions are lifted. I think the recent FIH Hockey Pro League games against the top 3 teams in the world showed that we are competitive. I’m excited to think about what this team can do with another year under its belt."

 

Women's Team Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said the side is undeterred by the postponement of the Olympics. "I just had a meeting with the team and broke this news to the group. Though it is disappointing, the girls told me, 'It's ok, Coach. We will continue to work the way we are and this probably gives us more time to prepare for the Olympic Games and be our best.'

Both the men's and women's teams are in National Camp at the Sports Authority of India's Bengaluru campus. A meeting between HI, SAI and the Chief coaches is due to happen soon to map out a training and fixture schedule for the Olympic-bound squad going ahead.

Meanwhile, both teams are expected to remain in Bengaluru till April 15 as previously mandated by SAI.

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