2021 has indeed been a magical year for the Indian sporting fraternity, especially for Indian hockey. With a historic bronze medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the Manpreet Singh-led team resurrected Indian hockey after nearly 41 long years.
While reminiscing about the hockey team's performance, Manpreet Singh stated that 2021 has brought a new dawn for Indian hockey. He also spoke about the challenges COVID-19 outbreak imposed on the players.
"It's true 2021 has brought a new dawn for Indian hockey. It's been a dream year. Of course, it was full of challenges, ups and downs, and I am really proud of the way we have overcome each obstacle to bringing back the Olympic glory. It was hard work of not four, but five years. We spent one whole year at the camp, trying to adapt to the new norms of life, our whole lifestyle has changed, we started living the bio-bubble life. So, there were challenges off the field as well," said Manpreet Singh.
Manpreet cited 'unity in the team' as the biggest reason for the team's success in Tokyo. Earlier, the Indian hockey team defeated arch rivals Pakistan by a 4-3 scoreline to win a bronze medal in the recently concluded Men's Asian Champions Trophy 2021.
"The team unity was one of the biggest reasons behind our Olympics success. You know the biggest positive of all this was that we as a team came very closer, and it really helped us during the Olympics. Faith among each other was something that made the team atmosphere very positive, and it motivated us to give our best on the field," said Manpreet Singh.
However, another highlight has to be the FIH Stars Awards. Indian players made a clean sweep at the prestigious hockey awards show.
Indian hockey players swept the 2020-21 edition of the FIH Stars Awards. Harmanpreet Singh (Best Player, Men), Gurjit Kaur (Best Player, Women), Savita Punia (Best Goalkeeper, Women), PR Sreejesh (Best Goalkeeper, Men) were the winners. Sharmila Devi (Best Rising Star, Women) and Vivek Prasad (Best Rising Star, Men) also won awards in their categories.
Manpreet Singh thanked SAI, MYAS for supporting Indian hockey team
After finishing the year on a high, Manpreet Singh thanked the authorities for their constant support and belief in the boys. He included the Sports Authority of India, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) and the Odisha State Government in this.
"We are really grateful to the Sports Authority of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) and the Odisha State Government for their undying support and motivation as this success wouldn't have been possible without them," said Manpreet.