Making his maiden appearance at the Olympic Games, star India striker Mandeep Singh has been enjoying every experience since the team arrived in Tokyo on Sunday. Recounting the moments, Mandeep said, “It has been great so far. Although it took us some time at the airport due to testing and other procedures, ever since we checked into the Games Village it has been incredible. Everything is well-organised and everyone is very careful about all the protocols,” explained Mandeep.
Mandeep also stated that the team is quite used to the routine testing and maintaining social distancing and other norms that are mandatory at the Games Village . “I think living in a bio-bubble for nearly 15-16 months in SAI, Bengaluru, we are very used to the covid-protocols. Here, we get tested every morning, it is a very simple process and the results come out by evening,” he said.
Talking about the food, Mandeep said, “The food is very good and there are some Indian dishes being served everyday too. The support staff is also ensuring we are in good shape physically and mentally ahead of our first game.”
He further expressed that the team has been clocking good training sessions since Monday. “We have been using the training pitch since Monday. We have a session each day and the energy level amongst the players is quite high ahead of the start of our campaign here in Tokyo.”
“Since our quarantine period ended today, we are now allowed to interact with other teams. Today was the first day we also got to play on the main competition pitch and no doubt, it is a fantastic stadium, and we are eager to play our first match against New Zealand,” he said.
With over 150 international caps for India, Mandeep is the most experienced player in the forwardline. On being asked if there is any added pressure on him, he said, “I don’t think there’s any added pressure on me because I have good support from the rest of the players. We have good on-field communication and on a good day, we can breach the toughest defence,” he stated.
India will play their first match on Saturday, 24th July @0630 hours IST
Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, set to begin this Friday, renowned sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik, has joined the chorus of voices to cheer for India as part of the Indian Olympic Fan Army, an initiative by MPL Sports Foundation, to give the Indian Olympic team its very own fan group. The award-winning artist, known for his larger-than-life sculptures on a wide range of topics, today unveiled a sand installation that aims to inspire everyone to become fans for our athletes in their pursuit of Olympic glory. This sand art on Puri beach features engraving of the various Olympic disciplines as well as Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi’s rallying cry of #Cheer4India.
More than 31 million fans from top sports teams and clubs in India like Kolkata Knight Riders, FC Goa, Gokulam Kerala FC, Ultimate Table Tennis, Real Kashmir FC, Shillong Lajong FC and Cricket Fauj, have already joined the Indian Olympic Fan Army.
As our largest ever contingent gears up for the Games, the fan movement aims to rally all 1.3 billion Indians to become fans of our Olympic athletes, who have time and again pushed the boundaries of their sport to bring laurels for the country. While ongoing COVID restrictions will keep fans cheering from afar, the Foundation has planned various virtual activities to energize fans and generate fervor for the Games.