Indian men's hockey team defender Jarmanpreet Singh has emphasised the importance of mental fitness as the team prepares for the Tokyo Olympics in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic.
The 24-year-old has been training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru as part of the senior core group ahead of the Olympics.
"I feel mental fitness is as important as physical fitness to deal with the current situations. A player needs to be mentally strong, and for that, we have been helping each other," he said.
India were supposed to play the FIH Pro League away matches against UK, Spain and Germany this month but it was postponed due to travel restrictions imposed in the wake of a surge in covid-19 cases.
"We communicate with each other, we try to create a positive environment so that everyone stays in a happy zone. I feel there's very good team bonding because of this, which has helped us with our preparations for the Olympics," he said.
Asked how he is preparing for the Tokyo Games, Jarmanpreet said, "My focus remains only on giving my best, and trying to improve each and every day at the training. I have set a challenge for myself: I should keep reducing my margin of error."
Jarmanpreet, who made his debut for the national team in 2018, said he is fortunate to have had the support of senior players throughout his career. "I am very fortunate and thankful to all senior players as well as coaches because they knew my past (the two-year doping ban in 2015), they knew I was returning after a long time. They have guided me , and have been motivating me."
Jarmanpreet says he's also benefitted from rooming with Kothajit Singh during training. "We talk about hockey off the field, and it has been helping me improve as a player."