Bengaluru, 06 May 2021: Indian Men's Hockey Team's defender Surender Kumar, who has played 135 matches for the national side, feels fitness played a pivotal role in helping the team put up a solid show on their recent successful tours to Europe and Argentina.
"I feel fitness played a pivotal role in helping the team put up a solid performance on both the tours. I don't think we would have had a successful outing in Argentina and Europe if our fitness level were not up to the mark," said Surender.
He further added, "When your fitness level is up to the mark, you automatically perform well on the field. You know, when you are away from the competition for such a long time, it becomes difficult to maintain such fitness levels. Hence, to keep our fitness level on track, we also gave importance to our physical strength at the camp, apart from technical aspects of the game."
The World No. 5 side, who pitted against the Olympic Champions Argentina registered 2-2 (3-2 SO), 3-0 wins in their FIH Hockey Pro League tie and secured 4-3, 4-4, 0-1 and 4-2 results in their practice matches. Speaking about the team's performance against the hosts Argentina, the 27-year-old defender said that the team focused on keeping things simple and played to their strengths without doing anything extra.
"It's not that easy to compete in a high-level competition after almost a year, especially against a strong team like Argentina, who had more international exposure than us. We focused on keeping things simple and played to our strengths, without doing anything extra, and I feel it worked out for us on the tour. And, would like to continue doing it in the Olympics as well. So, yeah, it was a good tour considering the fact that we defeated the Olympic Champions on their home soil as well as we got a great exposure before heading into the Olympics," said Surender.
The Karnal-born player, who is with the Core Group at SAI, Bengaluru further highlighted that the team is working on improving their fitness level. "We are working on improving our fitness level as it has been one of the key elements for us. As I said, if you want to put up a good show on the field, you need to have that fitness level," said the experienced defender.
With the marquee event Olympic Games just around the corner, Surender also emphasised that the team is taking one day at a time, and this approach has helped the team excel on their recent tours.
"We are taking it one day at a time, and this approach has also helped us excel on our recent tours. I think it will help us in the Olympics as well. For now, we are just focusing on our training and working hard to improve our levels each and every day," he concluded.
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