The Indian Hockey team is rediscovering its withered charm and is enjoying a leisure training camp after a long gap. The win or loss in Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament will not make much difference as the team preparing on a long-term basis to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. The training schedule is also designed with the long-term goal of success in the qualifiers to the London Olympics in mind.
On 15th March, 45 member Indian team started preparing in New Delhi for the Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Kuala Lumpur from May 5 under Coach Harendra Singh. Last year, India and South Korea were the co-winners of Azlan Shah Cup. The Indian team has to win the tough qualifying rounds to confirm their association with 2012 London Olympics. It has become more important due to the gold medal loss in Asian Games in November last year.
After the shocking 0-2 loss against Great Britain in a final match of Olympic qualifiers in Santiago for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, India had failed to take part in Olympics for the first time in 80 years of debut. India has won the Olympic eight times previously.
The training schedule designed for success in the qualifiers to the London Olympics, is quite relaxed but focused. It comprises of three sessions of training with one session of rest in between. This enables a player the chance to stay tuned to the game without stressing much.
During a week’s training in Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, the probables were put through various tests to assess their levels of fitness and the players are slowly getting back into rhythm. Their moves are being captured by a camera constantly on duty at one end of the stadium. This preparatory camp is being held after the gap of more than three months but the captain Rajpal Singh said that this gap will not affect the form and fitness of the players as most of them were busy playing domestic tournaments and National Games. The main focus is on fitness as the players have a lot of International Hockey games coming up.
Expecting that the team is shaping up properly, we wish them a great Hockey season ahead!