India men's hockey coach Reid hopes international action resumes in early 2021

After spending nearly 20 weeks at the national camp in SAI South Centre in Bengaluru, the core probables of the Indian men’s team left for their respective homes over the weekend.

Graham Reid during a training session at the national camp at Sports Authority of India in Bengaluru.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Graham Reid is hoping international action resumes in early 2021 after his side’s Olympic preparation was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian said the sooner India gets to play international matches, the better it will be for its build-up to the Tokyo Games, which have been shifted to 2021 due to the global pandemic.

“With the support of Hockey India, we have planned for matches from early next year. These matches will ideally show us the level we are truly at and the areas that will require work on leading into the Olympic Games,” Reid said in a statement issued by Hockey India.

After spending nearly 20 weeks at the national camp in SAI South Centre in Bengaluru, the core probables of the Indian men’s team left for their respective homes over the weekend.

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On target

Reid is satisfied with the progress the Indian players have made over the last four months and said they are close to achieving the pre-COVID levels, in terms of fitness and skill.

“We have done everything possible to maintain and more recently get the players back to the level they will need to compete at the world stage. Our fitness tests in the strength, weight, speed and muscle components show that we are on target.

“Our training sessions output data are approaching our February figures (when the team played FIH Hockey Pro League in Bhubaneswar). I believe, we are close to the level we showcase in our international matches,” he said.

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Tough mental test

The coach was pleased with the level of commitment and determination shown by players inside the bio-secure environment of the SAI campus.

“Given the extremely difficult circumstances for the last four months, I am pleased with where we are and how the players have conducted themselves in the bio-secure bubble in SAI,” said Reid.

“In a normal year, you have four-six weeks in camp and the players get one week off to spend with their friends and family. On the weekends they normally leave the campus and visit the mall or cinema etc.

“However, this year there has been none of that and has been a very tough mental test for all of us. But I am happy with the way players have handled this situation.”

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