Calcutta: The Indian hockey team, set to end their medal drought at the Tokyo Olympics, had their first glimpse of the main competition field on Thursday after their quarantine ended at the Games Village. The Blue Shirts will open their campaign against New Zealand on Saturday at 5:00 am UAE (6:30 am IST).
“Since our quarantine period ended today, we are now allowed to interact with other teams. Today was the first day we got to play on the main competition field as well and it’s a fantastic stadium. We are looking forward to our first game against New Zealand, ”said star forward Mandeep Singh.
Speaking to Hockey India, Mandeep, who has over 150 international caps for India, said the team have had some good training sessions since Monday. “We have been using the training ground since Monday. We have a session every day and the energy level among the players is quite high before the start of our campaign here in Tokyo. “
When asked if there was additional pressure on him, he said: “I don’t think there is additional pressure on me because I have good support from the rest of the players. We have good communication on the pitch and on a good day we can break through the toughest defense, ”he said.
Despite his rich international experience, this will be his first Olympics and the nervous striker has been enjoying it every moment since the team arrived with the Indian contingent in Tokyo on Sunday. “It’s been great so far. Although it took us a while at the airport due to testing and other procedures, since arriving at the Games Village it has been amazing. Everything is fine. organized and everyone pays close attention to all the protocols, ”Mandeep explained.
He informed that the team is now quite used to routine testing and maintaining social distancing and other mandatory standards at the Games Village. “I think living in a bio-bubble for almost 15-16 months in SAI, Bengaluru, we are very used to Covid protocols. Here, we get tested every morning, it’s a very simple process and the results come out in the evening, ”he said.
Speaking about the food, Mandeep said, “The food is very good and Indian dishes are also served daily. The support staff also make sure we are in good physical and mental shape before our first game. “