Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 6 (ANI): Indian hockey team player Gurinder Singh said he has been working 'extremely hard' to secure a spot in the team for the next year's Tokyo Olympics.
"I am working extremely hard to book a place in the Indian team for the Olympics at the moment. Keeping myself fit is my number one priority during the lockdown period and I am carrying out some stickwork drills as well. Playing for India at the Olympics has been a dream since childhood and hopefully, I will make it to the squad and contribute to India winning a medal at the quadrennial event," Hockey India's official website quoted Singh as saying.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been pushed back by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Singh was a part of the gold medal-winning Indian team at the Junior Hockey World Cup in 2016 and he termed the occasion as a 'big turning point' for him.
"The Gold-medal victory at the Men's Hockey Junior World Cup in 2016 was a big turning point for me. My performances were noticed and eventually, I made my way to the senior team. I have gone through a lot of ups and downs since I made my senior team debut at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2017," he said.
"I have been part of the squad for big tournaments such as the Commonwealth Games in 2018, but I have missed out on a few competitions as well. It was great to return to the squad for FIH Hockey Pro League matches against Australia earlier this year. I have learned a lot about my game in the last three years and therefore I am in a good position to build on my skills and look to make a bigger impact on our matches in the future," the 25-year-old added.
Hailing the current coach of the team Graham Reid, Singh said the team has become more aggressive since Reid took the charge.
"It's been over a year since Chief Coach Reid has joined us and I am sure one can see the difference he has brought to the side since April last year. We have become much more aggressive in our approach and therefore we are creating many more goal-scoring opportunities," Singh said.
"It was amazing to see him shift focus from working on team tactics to the development of each and every player during the Senior Men National Coaching Camp in November last year. Since there was a lot of time to prepare for the next tournament after the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers, Chief Coach Reid spent time with all players and ensured that we improved on certain aspects during the camp," he added. (ANI)