Hockey: Manpreet Singh says recovery from coronavirus made me mentally stronger 

India hockey skipper Manpreet Singh says going through a stressful isolation period while recovery from coronavirus has made him a mentally strong player who is now equipped to tackle any situation on the field.

Manpreet was one of the six hockey players to test positive for COVID-19 at the team’s training base in Bengaluru last month after they arrived for the national camp.

Having started their individual sessions after recovering, Manpreet said they still miss being part of the rest of the squad, even though Hockey India, Sports Authority of India and support staffs are doing their best to keep them upbeat.

“Hockey India officials would check on us almost every day if the food being provided is good, if our tele-treatment was done regularly, if we are monitoring our oxygen levels regularly and so on.

“Coaching Staff and teammates too would check on us through video calls. These things really helped us remain upbeat. Though it did sting a little to know all our teammates were back on the pitch while we were still in isolation, I feel this experience has made me mentally tougher to face any situation,” the skipper said.

Recollecting the time spent at the hospital, the star midfielder said it was mentally tough for him and rest of the infected players to remain in isolation.

“It was not easy, especially mentally. I have not done anything for a month and that’s a long time in a sportsperson’s career especially when every day is about improving and being the best,” Manpreet said.

“To be honest, initially when the results came out, we were slightly stressed. (But) we received best facilities in the hospital with SAI constantly checking with the medical team there of our well-being.”

“While SAI is putting together a post-recovery action plan to ensure smooth return to sports activities, chief coach (Graham Reid) engages in one-on-one pep talk with us that gives us confidence of returning to old form soon,” he said.

“Our scientific advisor Robin Arkel has been a great support too since the COVID-19 pandemic began.”