While the nation has been under lockdown since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian hockey teams - both the men's and women's - returned to training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) facility in Bengaluru on October 6th.
With all the safety measures in place, it would seem as though both hockey teams will be looking to build-up their fitness ahead of the summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021. Both teams have qualified for the Olympic games.
Speaking to the media, captain Manpreet Singh, who also tested positive for the coronavirus went on to praise the coaches and the facilities as they got back to training within a bio bubble.
“I tested positive and when I returned back to training, we slowly started the procedures of getting back to playing. The coaches have created a plan so that we gradually return to full momentum and I am really happy to be back practicing again,” said Manpreet Singh.
Graham Reid, the head coach of the men's hockey team, went on to state that it was a slow process to get the team back to their fitness levels ahead of the Olympics.
“Using the SAI SOPs for various disciplines, we have been able to gradually increase the workload and intensity of the training so that the majority of the squad will be back to pre-COVID levels by the end of the next camp. This has been a slow and deliberate process designed to produce maximum output while minimising the risk of injury," said Reid.
Feels good to have started training: Rani Rampal
Rani Rampal, the Indian women's hockey captain also hoped that the old form and momentum would return as the training commenced.
“It feels good to have started training after such a long time and we are slowly bringing our body back to a level which allows us to train the way we used to earlier," said the Indian women’s hockey team captain.
"Alongside that, we are following whatever safety protocols are in place and we hope we return to our old form and rhythm in the next few months. But at the moment, it is important that we keep ourselves safe by following all protocols and training within them," she added.