Olympics: Mentally, physically ready for first game, hockey forward Mandeep

The Indian hockey team is mentally and physically ready to take on New Zealand in its opening match on Saturday, striker Mandeep Singh said on Thursday.

With over 150 international caps for India, Mandeep is the most experienced player in the forwardline. On being asked if there is any added pressure on him, he said, “I don’t think there’s any added pressure on me because I have good support from the rest of the players. We have good on-field communication and on a good day, we can breach the toughest defence,” he stated.

Recounting the moments, Mandeep said, “It has been great so far. Although it took us some time at the airport due to testing and other procedures, ever since we checked into the Games Village it has been incredible. Everything is disorganization and everyone is very careful about all the protocols,” explained Mandeep.

Mandeep also stated that the team is quite used to the routine testing and maintaining social distancing and other norms that are mandatory at the Games Village . “I think living in a bio-bubble for nearly 15-16 months in SAI, Bengaluru, we are very used to the covid-protocols. Here, we get tested every morning, it is a very simple process and the results come out by evening,” he said.

Talking about the food, Mandeep said, “The food is very good and there are some Indian dishes being served everyday too. The support staff is also ensuring we are in good shape physically and mentally ahead of our first game.”

He further expressed that the team has been clocking good training sessions since Monday. “We have been using the training pitch since Monday. We have a session each day and the energy level amongst the players is quite high ahead of the start of our campaign here in Tokyo.”

“Since our quarantine period ended today, we are now allowed to interact with other teams. Today was the first day we also got to play on the main competition pitch and no doubt, it is a fantastic stadium, and we are eager to play our first match against New Zealand,” he said.