PANAJI: India’s hockey teams are expected to put up strong performances at Tokyo 2020 and confidence has been building among the fans that Rani and Manpreet Singh-led sides will be medal contenders at the Olympics. The Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams are ranked fourth and 10th respectively in world hockey (FIH) standings.
Here is an ‘Open Letter to Indian Hockey Fans around the globe’, by both team’s captains.
“We hope this letter finds you in good health and charged with excitement for the Olympics.
“We are elated to share with all of you that the Women’s and Men’s Indian National Hockey Teams have safely arrived in Tokyo for the Olympic Games. This is an emotional moment for the whole group because there have been many obstacles along the way to get here. There were times when it appeared that the whole competition may be in doubt due to the circumstances in the world. Now that we are here, we feel like we are within touching distance of the dream that we have harboured for the last five years.
“In hockey, just like an individual is incomplete without the support of their team, a team is similarly incomplete without the support of the backroom staff that has prepared the team. We would like to thank the coaching staff and the support staff that has enabled us to get here. Our performances on the pitch are owed to these dedicated members working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that we become the best that we can be.
“We would also like to make a special mention of the Sports Ministry, Sports Authority of India, Hockey India, Indian Olympic Association and especially Odisha State Government without whose support we probably wouldn’t even have been on the flight to Tokyo. Each of them have played their part in ensuring we had every facility that was needed especially in the year of the pandemic, we’re extremely grateful to all!
“In recent months, our teams have spent a lot of time amongst our own group due to the new reality of living and training in a secure bio-bubble. All the time that the players have spent in each other’s company on and off the field have brought our respective teams closer together than ever before. Each of us have grown as a hockey player and as an individual in life because of the challenging situations that we have dealt with. It is a privilege for the both of us to lead our respective teams into the Olympics. This is an honour that counts among our finest personal achievements in hockey.
“Representing one’s country in the Olympics is one of the proudest and most special moments in any sportsperson’s career. A large part of this feeling stems from the fact that the athlete shares this exhilarating experience with all the people of their country. Long before either of us was an Olympian, we were just excited kids who would tune in to watch their heroes represent India at the biggest competition in the world every four years. Now that we have been able to reach here, we understand just how much the support and blessings of every single fan back home counts. It drives us on and gives us the strength to fight for our goals.
“On behalf of the Indian Women’s and Men’s Hockey Teams, we seek your best wishes and whole-hearted support for the Tokyo Olympics. Even though we may be many miles away from our fans back home, we can feel this love as we step out onto the pitch each time.
“We promise you that we will value each and every minute of this prestigious tournament to make you all proud.
“Thank you. Jai Hind,” says the Open Letter to Indian Hockey Fans around the globe.