Leaders of Indian Hockey share their preparedness and self-beliefs in the webinar “Hockey@Tokyo”


Bhubaneswar : At a time when great hopes are pinned on both the Women’s and Men’s National Hockey Teams for the upcoming Olympics, Tata Steel organised a webinar today on “Hockey@Tokyo” which was addressed by Rani, Captain of Indian Women’s Hockey Team; Manpreet Singh, Captain, Indian Men’s Hockey Team, Sjoerd Marijne, Chief Coach, Indian Women’s Hockey Team and Graham Reid, Chief Coach, Indian Men’s Hockey Team. The event was organised in association with the Sports and Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha, Abhinav Bindra Foundation and Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre (ONTHHPC) to congratulate the Women’s and Men’s hockey teams for participating in the Tokyo Olympics 2021. The discussion centered on expectations from the team, their preparedness, and the role of being mentally strong for being winners.

Rani, Captain, Indian Women’s Hockey Team, said, “Since childhood it has been my dream to represent India in hockey. There is no greater satisfaction than leading your national team in the Olympics. As a team, we are committed to give our 100% to the game. Women’s hockey has come a long way and it is good that people are expecting from us.

My message to the young people would be to believe in yourself the most. If you won’t then no one else will. Do not make your challenges as excuses in life, but try to overcome them and your perseverance will make sure you will find support in your journey that will help you move forward and achieve your goals.”

Manpreet Singh, Captain, Indian Men’s Hockey Team, said, “Seeing my elder siblings win medals for India has inspired and motivated me to take up hockey. This pandemic has brought our team closer, and has given us more time to hone our skills and strategy. We have taken it in the positive spirit and are very confident of our chances in Olympics. We are focused on winning the gold medal for India.”

Sjoerd Marijne, Coach, Indian Women’s Hockey Team, said, “We have made a strategic shift in our culture by adopting a high-performance culture. As a coach, I have made sure to continue to push the team and set high standards for them. We took help from psychologists, to better understand the players’ psyche in order to connect with them at a personal level. Our team’s strength lies in our fearlessness and ‘Never say die’ attitude.”

Graham Reid, Coach, Indian Men’s Hockey Team, said, “It takes a long time to build world champions. Competing in Tokyo is going to be very challenging and taxing for the team due to the humid climatic conditions. We have a right mix of young talent along with experienced players, who have a very aggressive style of playing hockey. As a team, we are working on both physical and mental aspects. Our belief, confidence and sense of togetherness is going to define us in the Olympics.”

On the occasion Mr. Chanakya Chaudhary, Chairman, Hockey Ace Foundation, and Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, said, “It is a special and unique occasion today to have both our Women’s and Men’s National Hockey Teams’ captains and the chief coaches on one platform especially when our entire Nation is eagerly looking forward to them to bring home laurels from the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. My best wishes to them and all members of our National hockey teams for the Olympics.

Tata Steel has always been committed to promote a culture of sports in our country. Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC in partnership with Department of Sports and Youth Services, Govt. Of Odisha at Bhubaneswar and Naval Tata Hockey Academy at Jamshedpur have been part of our endeavors in this direction, to groom the future of Indian hockey, a sport which continues to be very close to our hearts.”

Mr Vishal K Dev, Principal Secretary, Sports & Youth Services, Government of Odisha in his message for the teams said, “There is no greater stage in world hockey than the Olympics and I want to congratulate the entire men and women’s squad who will be representing India at Tokyo. While it is a proud moment for the entire nation, it is also a huge opportunity for you all to play to the best of your potential and achieve your Olympic dream.

As you are all aware, Hockey is an emotion for the people of Odisha and we feel deeply connected to the teams. While you take centre stage on the blue turf there, we Odias and millions of Indian Hockey fans will be cheering for you from here. I wish Team India the very best.”

Rajiv Seth, Project Director, Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Center and Diksha Tiwari, Consulting Senior Associate Editor, My City Links Magazine moderated the charged discussion.

Sports has been integral to Tata Steel’s philosophy of nation building and it has been making relentless efforts to build a sporting culture locally and provide the right opportunities for local talent to grow. In India, Tata Steel spearheads the corporate promotion of sports through its constant encouragement to professional sportspersons, amateurs, and its own employees to pursue sports and excel. Tata Steel has been consistently involved in creating and nurturing professional sportspersons through its academies and grassroots feeder centres.

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