New Delhi, May 9 (PTI) Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist midfielder Hardik Singh says he had to “reset” himself to bounce back after getting into a comfort zone, which led to his omission from the Indian men’s hockey team in the past.
Now the team’s vice captain, Hardik bagged the Balbir Singh Sr Award for Player of the Year at the 5th Hockey India Annual Awards held in March.
“Currently, I’m really happy how I’m getting better day by day, how I’m improving, and how I’m developing my skills at every session, because, back in 2017-18, I got into my comfort zone which proved to be harmful to me as I was not playing well and was dropped out of the team eventually. So, I had to reset myself to bounce back,” he said in a release.
“As a player, you have to work hard every day and have to give your 100% in every training session. You have to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to grow as a player.” Talking about the award, Hardik said: “I never thought that I would ever win this award, but I know for a fact that I was working hard for the last three to four years and my hard work paid off.
“I think it’s an inspiration to receive this award, which also ensures that I am appreciated by the people of India for playing well.” The 24-year-old, who played an important role in India winning the bronze at Tokyo Games, suffered a setback when he was ruled out of the 2023 Hockey World Cup midway due to an injury.
“The World Cup was really a big chance for me to prove again that I’m a big stage player. I was doing really well in the tournament and then the injury came. So, I was in shock because I was doing everything to give my best performance in the tournament,” he said in the latest episode of ‘Hockey Te Charcha’ podcast.
“After Tokyo Olympics, all my focus was on the World Cup and I was giving my 100 percent in everything, be it in the gym or training session or pool session. All I was thinking about was that my hard work isn’t paying off because I was getting injured and doing nothing about it.
“But I was still cheering for the team from the sidelines and trying to be positive as I didn’t want to be a crybaby. It’s a team game, if my side is winning, then I am also winning.” The Punjab-born player also shared his thoughts about playing under newly-appointed Indian chief coach Craig Fulton, who recently joined the national camp at Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru.
“I think whenever you try to make a champion team; you need a champion coach also. Craig has been successful with the Ireland team and with the Belgium team. He brings that positive aura and the champion’s mindset that we need right now,” Hardik said.
“Craig’s ideas and his structure of playing the game and how to read the opponent is really incredible. He’s more like a tactical coach, so there’s going to be more work on that front.
“I think Craig will need some time to get acclimated to the atmosphere in India; it’s a different atmosphere, so we need to be patient with him. But we are sure of creating some good memories with him.”
Source: PTI News