File photo of defender and drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh (Getty Images)

Entire hockey team staying together has helped in lockdown: Harmanpreet Singh


KOLKATA: At a time when the whole country is reeling under a pandemic and the successive lockdowns that have been enforced to minimize its effects, Indian hockey player Harmanpreet Singh believes being together with the other members of the national team has helped everyone stay strong.

Both the men’s and women’s national teams have been stuck at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru since the lockdown began in March. They were barred from taking part in practice sessions or even working out together.

“It is a difficult situation for everyone but what has helped us is that the entire team is here in SAI. There was not a day when it was mentally challenging for us because we always have each other for support,” said the ace drag-flicker.

“Over the years, we have become a close-knit family. Whenever anyone has any concerns (even during normal times), we have tried to resolve it and keep them upbeat,” he added.

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Harmanpreet has also used music to keep himself in good mood in these trying times and has been enjoying this time off to hone his singing skills. As for his hunger to score goals on the turf, he has been abating it by scoring goals in football, albeit on PlayStation.

Another factor that has helped him stay calm is that his family has been keeping well and his brother is there to take care of his parents.

All this while, the players were barred from leaving the camp but now they have been given permission to visit their families, although they will have to stay in quarantine for 14 days once they get back to the camp.

However, he is quite happy getting this much-needed break at a time the national team would otherwise be busy taking part in the Hockey Pro League and preparing for the Olympics.

“I have continuously played for the national team since my debut in 2016, so this break has been good for my body and mind,” he added.

Like everyone else, he is also disappointed that the Olympics Games have been shifted to next year. But he is looking at the positives.

“We are looking at this postponement as an opportunity to get better. This will also help the younger players, who have recently come into the team, to adjust and show their potential,” said the junior World Cup winner.