The time for training is past. It’s time to put plans into action for the India hockey team.
The time for training is past. It’s time to put plans into action for the India hockey team. Following training sessions, a rigorous fitness regime and finetuning tactics along with skills, the Indian hockey team are set to embark on its Rio journey.
Boasting a fit squad, a visibly confident coach Roelant Oltmans and his wards are well prepared to take on the opposition. “We are prepared. It’s a challenge. We go there, we qualified, we are excited, and we have great players who all want to start the tournament,” said the Dutchman.
Having shown fighting spirit against top sides during the Champions Trophy, Oltmans wants the boys to the carry forward the momentum.
“It shows the capacity of this team. It shows the ability of the team against the top sides in the world. Now we need to show it was not a one-off. We still have to show that we can repeat it every match in the Olympic Games,” asserted Oltmans.
With medal-winning performances recently, skipper Sreejesh P.R. believes the team’s composition is perfect. “If you talk about this team, it’s a perfect match. From 2013, we are carrying this group — 35 or 40 members. So, the understanding the between the players has improved a lot. They gel well, they understand each other — on the field and off the field,” explained the custodian on Friday.
However, the core group still carries the scars from the London Olympics. “To be honest, not too much. Of course that’s in their hearts but should not be in the minds any more. If it is in the heart, then I understand because it was important for the players. What we do with the youngsters is we share our experience with them,” added Sreejesh.
The 28-year-old urged the youngsters not to get distracted at Rio. “The only thing we are focusing at the Olympics in concentration. Just do your business as there things to distract you. If you are influenced by those you will forget your ultimate aim and you miss the result. It’s all about focusing on our matches.”
With Sreejesh taking over captaincy from Sardar Singh, Oltmans has cultivated the habit of sharing responsibilities within the team.
“We share the responsibility among a group of players. And he’s (Sreejesh) in the middle of the group. But that doesn’t mean Sardar or (S.V.) Sunil is not in the middle of the group. That’s the nice part about this group; it’s really one team,” remarked Oltmans.
The team leave for Madrid on Saturday for two practice games against Spain before flying to Rio on July 29.