After a stupendous performance by the hockey teams in the Tokyo Olympics, the road has only gotten tougher for the 2024 Paris Games, with all the expectations. PR Sreejesh, who was one of the pillars of the team during Olympics, feels that he can make it to next Games and has motivation to do so.
India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who helped India win a medal in hockey after a gap of 41 years, has said that he wants to continue playing till the Paris Olympics, which is subject to his performance and fitness.
“No player will say no to an Olympics, we are greedy people. The motivation will always be to work hard and give the best.
“I have had a career of 21 years. So I will always want to play one more match, one more Olympics so as long as my team members don’t kick me out, I will stay in the team for sure,” he said during the India Today conclave.
He went on to add, “But nothing is certain in a sportsperson’s life. There can be an injury, performance can go down, others can do better than me.”
When skipper Manpreet Singh was asked about Sreejeshs' chance of making it to Paris, he said, “He is going to Paris from our side. Sreejesh is the best goalkeeper, so we would want him to be there at the goal. We have the confidence in him but rest depends on his fitness and other things.”
On the other hand, women's team skipper Rani Rampal said, “For us, 2016 was first Olympics, we didn’t win any match and I think it was a turning point for us because we learnt how to handle pressure in such big event and this was a different Olympics because we lost first three matches but still had the self-belief,” she said.
“We lost Holland and Germany but we played good hockey and this gave us the confidence that we can beat other teams and that belief carried us through against Australia.”
Senior member and goalkeeper Savita Punia said, “We had qualified after 36 years in 2016 Olympics but there was no performance. I was not happy with my performance so in the next 4-5 years we wanted to do something.
“The England match we didn’t play well and in hindsight because of that match, we did well in the next games. Our coach was so upset that he didn’t have lunch with us.
“So Ireland match was more important than quarterfinals, which was a pressure match. We knew Australia is a good team, they were higher ranked, so pressure was on them.
"We were also confident because we had lost a close match against Australia in 2018 Commonwealth Games, so we just wanted to do better, there was no option.”