Was only craving to meet my family during lockdown, says Rani

The hockey players, who were allowed last week to return to their respective homes after spending close to three months at the Sports Authority of India Campus in Bengaluru due to COVID-19 lockdown, are currently spending some quality time with their loved ones.

Men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh seemed delighted at the opportunity of not just meeting his mother and brother, but also his two pet dogs.

“It was such a great feeling to have returned home to my mother, brother and my two dogs, Sam and Rio. Even though I was in constant touch over video calls, I was really looking forward to being back home, and all I can say is that it felt so good to be back home – it just gave me goosebumps,” said Manpreet who returned to his home in Jalandhar.

Meanwhile, his woman counterpart Rani also returned to Shahbad, Haryana and could not hide her happiness.

“I know a lot of people had been craving to travel or to eat outside, but the only thing I had been craving during lockdown was meeting my family. I am so happy that I am finally here and can spend some days with them.

“I am, of course, very thankful to Hockey India and SAI for having taken great care of us, and now my focus will be on maintaining my fitness even at home, and making sure I spend my time with my loved ones,” said the 25-year-old.

Men’s forward Mandeep Singh said he is fortunate to have this opportunity but wants to maintain his routine to ensure top performances once he is back to playing competitive hockey in the future.

“When I stepped inside the house, the energy I felt was just out of this world. I returned after such a long time so it was nice to meet my family and to spend time with them.

“However, I speak on behalf of all the players when I say that one thing we will not forget is to maintain our fitness and routine during this break. We know it is imperative to remain in top shape, and we will be focused on that, and I am sure we will be helped by our families and friends as well,” he said.

Midfielder Neha Goyal also expressed her excitement at coming back to meet her mother in Sonipat.

“During the early part of lockdown, my sister had come down to stay with my mother, but once the restrictions eased a bit, she had to return to her in-laws. When I came back and presented my mother with my ‘Hockey India Ajit Pal Singh Award for Midfielder of the Year 2019’ trophy, the happiness on her face was what I had missed seeing for the past three months.

“So I am really happy to be back with her, and I am looking forward to helping her in daily chores as well. Of course we need to maintain our fitness schedules, and I will be focusing on that too along with spending some quality time with my mother,” said the 23-year-old.