Hockey success culmination of five years of sacrifices: Manpreet, Rani

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New Delhi– Indian men’s and women’s hockey team captains Manpreet Singh and Rampal wrote an open letter to hockey fans across the world, saying that “The historic Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 campaign was the culmination of five years of intense hard work and lot of sacrifices” and that the “love and support we have received” from across the country and even abroad during the Games has been “overwhelming”.

“Through this letter, we wanted to share with you some of the emotions we have experienced over these past three weeks and also let you know just how much your support meant to us during our campaign at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

“After a memorable tournament and a euphoric welcome we received upon our arrival in New Delhi on Monday, we have finally reached our respective homes. We must admit that the love and support we have received from across the country and even abroad has been overwhelming to say the least,” the two skippers wrote.

While the Indian men’s team finished with a bronze, ending a 41-year medal drought, the women’s team narrowly missed third place, going down to Great Britain 3-4 in the bronze-medal match.

“The historic Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 campaign was the culmination of five years of intense hard work, dedication and a lot of sacrifices. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy at all, we have had our ups and downs, but we never gave up. We were focused and gave our everything on the field in each game to show that we are fearless and can beat any team in the world.

“Our achievement could not have been possible without the constant support and help from the team support staff, Odisha state government, Hockey India, Sports Authority of India (SAI), and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. We would like to thank each one of them for helping and encouraging us throughout the journey,” said the two skippers.

“We would also like to thank each one of our fans, who have supported both teams at every step of the way. We are aware of you waking up early just to watch us play, you backed us all the way, you celebrated when we won, and you cried with us when we lost. This unconditional support we received from you means the world to us and we hope that you will continue to support us in the forthcoming Olympic cycle too.”

The duo said that their teams were looking forward with renewed vigour to the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year.

“We have big tournaments coming up and while we are now on a break for a few weeks, we are constantly thinking about ‘what next’. The support and encouragement we have received over these past few weeks has motivated us more than ever to bring laurels to the country and we have set our sights firmly on the big-ticket events coming up this Olympic cycle namely the Asian Champions Trophy, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Asia Cup, the FIH Hockey Pro League and the FIH Men’s and Women’s World Cup.” (IANS)


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