Indian men's hockey team defender Kothajit Singh on Wednesday said the COVID-19 lockdown gave him an opportunity to hit the pause button and identify the shortcomings in his game.
Kothajit said his biggest takeaway from the lockdown was to value the importance of patience and the need to believe in oneself in every situation. "It was a difficult time during the lockdown period. Staying away from the hockey pitch is always tough. However, I got a chance to hit the pause button during that time," Kothajit was quoted as saying in a Hockey India press release.
"I also watched a lot of footage of my previous matches and I have noted down certain aspects that I will need to work on in the upcoming months," he added. The 28-year-old defender utilized the time during the lockdown to also ponder about his long international career, spanning over 200 matches for his country. "I have been in the Indian team for around seven years and therefore I could utilize the lockdown period to think about how I have progressed in my career. I have certainly realised that being patient and continuing to persevere are the key elements in any sportsperson's life," he said. "Opportunities will come and go, but the important thing is to keep giving my hundred percent and believing in myself every time I am on the pitch," Kothajit added. The player from Manipur said that regular fitness training at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru helped him stay physically and mentally fresh. "Maintaining our physical fitness was our biggest goal during the lockdown. Consistent exercise certainly helps one to be mentally and physically fresh. Carrying out the fitness schedules was the best part of my day," he said. "Watching hockey matches and doing stickwork drills were major sources of motivation as well," he said.
Kothajit, who missed out on the FIH Olympic Qualifiers last year, was delighted to be called back to the national squad ahead of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 matches against the Netherlands. "It was certainly difficult to miss out on playing one of the biggest tournaments like the FIH Olympic Qualifiers. However, it was wonderful to see our team book a berth at the Tokyo Olympics in front of our home crowd. We have a lot of talented defenders in our team and it's great to compete for a spot in the national squad. "It really shows the kind of quality we have on our side. It was amazing to be back in the Indian squad earlier this year. Hopefully, I can keep putting in the hard yards in the training sessions in the future and be a consistent member of the Indian side for the upcoming matches," he said.