National teams are better managed now compared to 2007, says senior pro SV Sunil

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Bengaluru: Indian men’s hockey striker SV Sunil expressed on Saturday (September 12) that a lot has changed since he joined the senior India team in 2007, and the overall effort from Hockey India and the team management has ensured the growth of both men and women’s hockey teams.

“It was very different when I came into the senior India team in 2007. A lot has changed in terms of how the national team is managed now in comparison to 10-12 years ago. There is a lot more professionalism and accountability. Hockey India has ensured we have a quality support system which is on par or better than other top nations and the planning of events and competition ensures we gain the right exposure before top tournaments. This systematic approach has definitely contributed to the team’s improvement over the years,” expressed Sunil who has been the cynosure of India’s forward line for over a decade.

The Coorg-lad was particularly happy with the way things were handled during the lockdown and subsequently during the ongoing National Coaching Camp where the players have been closely monitored and a secure bio-bubble is created in SAI, Bengaluru.

“We were particularly happy with the kind of care taken by Hockey India and SAI to ensure we have a safe environment in SAI. It is like a bio-bubble here with zero contact from outside and the Federation keeps a close check on every player’s well-being through constant communication with team’s Chief Coach,” stated Sunil.

The striker is confident both Hockey India and SAI will ensure the best preparation opportunities for the teams in the lead up to the Olympic Games next year. “While we are aware there may not be any competition at all this year barring select internal-matches, we are confident good tours will be planned early next year that will give us the right exposure before the Asian Champions Trophy and the FIH Hockey Pro League.

We will need a good buildup to the Olympic Games and we have been told a proposal has already been made by Hockey India and the Coaching Staff to SAI for our tours and we look forward to doing our bit also,” Sunil said.

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