Tokyo 2020: Hockey was in our hearts but now it will be in our memories, says ex-India coach Harendra Singh

The Indian males’s and ladies’s hockey groups have created historical past on the Tokyo Olympics.

Indian males’s group ended a 41-year-old medal drought by clinching bronze with a 5-4 win over Germany, whereas the ladies’s group completed a creditable fourth after shedding 3-4 to Rio Olympics gold medallists Great Britain in a hard-fought bronze play-off match.

Former India hockey coach Harendra Singh, who educated each the present nationwide males’s and ladies’s groups at completely different phases of his achieved profession, believes that nation’s efficiency on the Tokyo Olympics will carry an enormous tectonic shift in direction of the sport.

TOKYO 2020: Full Coverage

“Till now, we had only heard stories of Indian hockey’s glorious past, but we have new stories to tell from now onwards. We are lucky to have two best Indian hockey teams (both men and women) in the same era,” Harendra Singh informed IndiaAs we speak.In from Los Angeles.

“Hockey dil mey tha humare magar ab dimaag mey rahega (Hockey used to be in our hearts, but now it will be in our memories),” added Harendra, who has been appointed as the brand new head coach of the US males’s group.

Harendra, who has bestowed the Dronacharya award in 2012, served because the chief coach of the senior India males’s hockey group from 2017-18; earlier than that, he was with the India ladies’s group which received the 2017 Asia Cup.

Indian ladies’s group, who weren’t prepared to offer an inch in the sauna-like scenario in Tokyo, confirmed immense bodily power. They proved that they’re at par with the European groups in phrases of physicality.

Very few folks know that after taking on the ladies’s group, it was Harendra, who began a rigorous health regime with the assistance of scientific advisor Wayne Lombard.

The duo made positive that each participant should cross the yo-yo take a look at to get chosen for the group. They additionally made it obligatory for the gamers to attend the power coaching session, twice in a day.

“I noticed that the women’s team was lacking in fitness. I had a word with Wayne, and we started strength training sessions twice a day. We set up few rules for the selection, such as passing the endurance test and yo-yo test were made compulsory. We asked Hockey India to appoint a team psychologist. We won the Asia Cup, and since the team has only gone in the upward direction,” stated Harendra.

“Playing hockey in 40 plus temperature is not easy. But, the way they fought back was quite amazing. It felt surreal, to be honest,” he added.

India’s finest efficiency in the Olympics was a fourth-place end in the 1980 Moscow Games. However, there have been no semifinals in that version as solely six groups competed in a round-robin format, with the highest two in the ultimate.

Interestingly, Harendra additionally paved a roadmap for Indian males’s hockey. He was the coach of India U-21 aspect, which lifted the 2016 Junior World Cup held in Lucknow.

Seven gamers from that Junior World Cup-winning group had been essential members of the current senior aspect, profitable the bronze medal. The gamers are Harmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Varun Kumar, and Krishan Pathak.

Apart from Pathak, a stand-by goalkeeper, all six gamers have scored objectives on the Olympics.

“Patience is the virtue in hockey. When I left the coaching role, I pleaded with the management to stick with this bunch of players because they are special. I have told them this team would return with a medal from Tokyo,” he stated.

“Mark my words; this is just the beginning. The best is yet to come,” he added.

Harendra’s first project with the lads’s group was the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy, the place he led India to gold in Muscat, Oman. He additionally led India to a fifth-place end in the 2018 males’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar. The males’s aspect additionally claimed a silver in the 2018 Champions Trophy and a bronze medal on the 2018 Asian Games.

Harendra has represented India 23 occasions between 1985 to 1991and performed an important function in India’s silver profitable run on the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

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