Veteran Indian men's hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh will be in action during the upcoming FIH Pro League 2021/22 matches. He will make a comeback for the first time since the historic Tokyo Olympics bronze medal stint.
Sreejesh wants to continue to don the blue jersey as long as he's able to give 100 percent to the game of hockey. His constant drive to get better and his passion for the sport separates him from the rest.
"For a goalkeeper, age is not is a barrier. It's about how passionate you are about the game, how hard you are working, and how good you are performing, so these things are very important. I am just focusing on my performance now, and as long as I am good enough, I would want to continue playing."
"It's important for me to keep short targets, and give my 100% for the country. To wear that blue jersey and play for the country, gives me the energy, that is what really excites me to play more and more matches, and that's the reason behind my long run."
The 33-year-old, who will be a part of FIH Hockey Pro League 2021-22 matches, stated that the tournament will help the team in laying a strong foundation ahead of major events lined up.
The Indian team will be competing at the Asian Games and the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar - Rourkela. The Asian Games will provide the men in blue to fetch a direct Paris Olympics qualification spot.
Sreejesh, while addressing a virtual press conference, said:
"We are starting 2022 with the FIH Hockey Pro League, and as you know we are ultimately competing against all the top teams in the world, so that will help us lay a strong base for the next major tournaments, which includes the Asian Games and the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar - Rourkela."
He further added:
These matches will also give the players more experience of playing against the big teams, especially to the newcomers, who will get a chance to showcase their talent and cement their place in the team for the upcoming major tournaments."
PR Sreejesh eyes gold or silver medal at next Olympics:
The Wall of Indian Hockey, Sreejesh, is not done yet. The qualities that make an athlete supreme is their tenacity to improve and their hunger to achieve more. After winning a bronze in Tokyo, the Indian goalkeeper aims at grabbing a gold or a silver medal at the next Olympics.
"I think I do have a choice to decide the color of the medal, we have got the Bronze medal, and now we can target for the Silver or Gold medal, so that's the motivation."
The 33-year-old added:
"If you look at 2022, we have Asian Games scheduled, which will provide us an opportunity to directly qualify for the Paris Olympics, so that is also going to be a motivation for me. The 2023 World Cup, which we are going to host, so winning a medal in the World Cup, will complete my list of medals in all the hockey events, so again, that is also a reason or motivation to look forward and work really hard and play for my country."
Every athlete has to hang up their boot someday, so does Sreejesh, but is it too much to ask for another Olympic medal? The veteran goalkeeper wants to focus on his game and continue to play for India.