Paris Olympics 2024: India men’s hockey team has a goal for gold! - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Paris Olympics 2024: India men’s hockey team has a goal for gold!

ByKriti Kambiri
Apr 01, 2024 11:28 PM IST

Men's hockey team, which won bronze in Tokyo Olympics 2020, is prepping with gusto to make India proud at Paris Olympics, which are slated for July this year.

Mention how the India Men’s Hockey team has created history, by returning to the Olympics as medal winners after a long spell of 45 years, and only one sentiment echoes through this sports army: “Iss baar Olympic medal ka colour badalna hai!”

A candid moment with some of the members of India men's hockey team (L-R) Abhishek, Gurjant Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar, Harmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, PR Sreejesh, Nilakanta Sharma, and Krishan Pathak.(Photo: Raajessh Kashayp/HT)
A candid moment with some of the members of India men's hockey team (L-R) Abhishek, Gurjant Singh, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar, Harmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, PR Sreejesh, Nilakanta Sharma, and Krishan Pathak.(Photo: Raajessh Kashayp/HT)

From bronze to gold is not a cake walk, and on their journey to make India proud, there’s a lot of blood and sweat that’s being shed. “The fitness regiment is very focused... We’re trying to do something we’ve never done before — train harder, train faster, train longer and train smarter. These are all in line with individually and collectively improving the team,” says Craig Fulton, head coach, adding, “I feel a mentally healthy athlete is an asset.”

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

With this motto, here’s all the excitement, prep, and regimens that the players share with us during their recent stopover in Delhi, before heading to the Test series in Australia.

 

All Hail The Captain: Harmanpreet Singh, Flicker

Harmanpreet Singh, 28, is leading the team this year as captain.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/HT)
Harmanpreet Singh, 28, is leading the team this year as captain.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/HT)

“As a captain, meri responsibility hai ki team ko saath lekar chalun,” says the 28-year-old, adding, “Last time what we achieved, after a long time, increased people’s expectations. Jab hum match khelne jaate hain, the crowd and hockey fans support us. So India ke liye humari duty hai ki hum medal lekar aayein.... Family ka support poora hai. My daughter who is 10 months old, usne hockey pakadni shuru kardi hai (laughs).”

“Koshish rahegi ki final match mein hum khelein, aur jeetein. Last time when we celebrated our win, that’s a good memory. We aim to repeat our victory taaki saara India humare saath milke celebrate kare aur wahi Chak De! India moment ho humare liye.” 

 

Señor Sreejesh PR, The Goalkeeper

Sreejesh PR, senior player and goalkeeper, says that the entire team is giving its 200%.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/HT)
Sreejesh PR, senior player and goalkeeper, says that the entire team is giving its 200%.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/HT)

In a day, we spend six to eight hours working on our team activities, strategies, planning, then definitely spending time in the gym,” shares the 35-year-old who is not just among the senior most members in the team but also a pro when it comes to having fun while supporting his mates. “Everyone is pushing each other really hard, and that is what’s helping us get into good shape. We’re not giving 100%, we’re giving our 200%!” 

 

Bouncing Back: Manpreet Singh, Midfielder

Manpreet Singh, former captain of the team, shares how his peers supported him while he was recovering from a recent injury.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap)
Manpreet Singh, former captain of the team, shares how his peers supported him while he was recovering from a recent injury.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap)

“Hockey is a team game, jismein sabko motivate karna bahut zaruri hai,” says 31-year-old who is also the team’s former captain. “I’ve recently made a comeback after my injury. Yahi six months sabse important hain humare liye, to maintain our body. Diet mein bhi I’m avoiding fast food that could harm my body... Meri do saal ki beti mujhe humesha motivate karti hai. She even came to one of the tournaments, to cheer me... Whenever I go for a match, she says, ‘Papa, match!’ with a big smile and ’Goal!’ Seeing her I feel all the more to win the match, medals so that when she grows up, she feels proud of her father... I wish she chooses sports when she grows up, and if she chooses hockey then I’ll be the happiest.”

Dab! Krishan B Pathak, Goalkeeper

For Krishan B Pathak, goalkeeper, the pressure is high but confidence is higher.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/HT)
For Krishan B Pathak, goalkeeper, the pressure is high but confidence is higher.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/HT)

“Since last two weeks hum training camp mein thay, Bhubaneswar (Odisha) mein, and training mein bahut running karai,” recalls the 28-year-old, who is hoping to chak de phatte at the Olympics. He adds, “Last Olympic main as a reserve goalkeeper gaya tha. Abhi meri koshish hai ki main apna best karun aur team mein apna naam laun... Olympics ka pressure toh hota hi hai; it’s a big stage. But is baar confidence hai ki last year we won a medal.

 

Young Blood: Vivek Sagar Prasad, Midfielder

Vivek Sagar, who is among the youngest players in the team, confesses he has quit sweets to stay fit.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/HT)
Vivek Sagar, who is among the youngest players in the team, confesses he has quit sweets to stay fit.(Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/HT)

“India team mein khelte hain toh usmein senior ya junior nahi dekhte,” states the 24-year-old, who is among the youngest players. “Off and even on field humari bonding dikhti hai. Jitne seniors hain, sabhi naye players ko adapt karne ki koshish karte hain... Hum apni fitness ko aur better kar rahe hain. In diet, I’ve sacrificed sweets. Koshish yahi hai ki healthy foods khaun. Dost log mujhe bahut chidhate bhi hain, toh patience level bhi check hota hai (laughs),” he shares, adding, “Saare deshwasiyon ki expectations humse badhi hui hain. So we try to fulfill their expectations. We’ve tasted success at the Oympics, lekin medal ka colour change karna zaruri hai. I want to make Team India number 1!”

 

For more, follow @htcity.delhijunction

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On