PANAJI: With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting human life around the world, countless frontline workers risked their lives for the sake of others and spared no effort in fighting the deadly virus. Hence, in a bid to pay tribute and show respect to all the COVID warriors, the Indian hockey teams have vowed to dedicate their performances at upcoming Tokyo Olympics,  to the ‘true heroes’ of our country, says a press release by Hockey India.

India captain Manpreet Singh in a video released by Hockey India, said: “As we work hard towards the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we promise to fight all odds to win a medal for India. And if we do get a medal, we would like to dedicate it to the true heroes of our country – the doctors and frontline workers who have worked tirelessly to heal our country through these tough times and saved millions of lives. Thank you, Jai Hind.”

“I am really proud to witness the kind of dedication each one of us have been showing during the trials. Representing India at the Olympics is a huge honour and a dream for every athlete. Everyone is pushing each other to give their best shot,” said Manpreet.

It’s a similar sentiment echoing in the women’s camp. In 2020 when India was grappling with a series of nationwide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian women’s hockey team took up a unique challenge which was to raise funds in order to help feed more than 1000 families from economically under privileged backgrounds. They raised over Rs 20 lakh through a 21-day online fitness challenge. 

Ahead of the Olympic Games 2020 beginning next month, in a video message released by Hockey India today, skipper Rani said: “This Olympics is unlike any other in the past. Our country has been through a lot, and we are proud of our doctors and frontline workers who have selflessly worked to save lives. As we work hard towards securing a medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we pledge to dedicate our efforts and hopefully our victory to these COVID warriors. We are all here and safe thanks to them. Thank you, Jai Hind.”

Rani further stated that this unanimous decision will further fuel the team’s aspiration to finish on the podium in Tokyo. “When we take up a vow like this, there is an added onus on us to do exceedingly well. Winning for India is always a goal but winning for our countrymen and women who have made many sacrifices in order to save lives during this pandemic will make it a truly special outing in Tokyo for the team,” she said.

“We draw a lot of inspiration from these great people who have risked their own lives to save others. We have come across numerous such stories of sacrifice and humanity. As players, the only thing we can give in return for their great efforts is by achieving something historic and dedicate it to them and that’s what we have decided to do,” Rani added. 

“Everyone is pumped up to give their best shot to make it to the squad. We are undergoing selection trials this week and the environment is really good around the team, and my teammates are making each and every training session count at the camp,” said Rani referring to the members of Women’s Hockey Olympic Core Group.


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