India hockey player SV Sunil says spending quarantine at SAI centre was test of ‘mental strength’

As the Indian men’s hockey team gears up to resume training from Wednesday, striker SV Sunil believes the coronavirus-forced 14-day quarantine period inside the Sports Authority of India South Centre was a test of their mental strength and patience.

The 31-year-old said it was important for every member of the group to stay strong mentally to get through the challenge of staying in isolation for a lengthy period.

“I think what we all realised from these past two weeks was the fact that we all need to be really strong mentally, and to make sure that we were always in touch with our friends, family and teammates,” said Sunil.

“Sometimes you don’t realise how much effort goes into something, but after having lived in isolation, I can relate to what everyone who has lived in quarantine centres or home isolation has gone through. It is a great challenge of mental strength and really tests your patience,” he added.

The Indian men and women hockey players are currently serving a mandatory 14-day quarantine period after returning from a home break and will resume training from Wednesday for the national camp that will last till 30 September.

Sunil lauded the efforts of the team’s support staff, including chief coach Graham Reid, who did their best in keeping the players occupied during the quarantine period.

“It was important for us to stay busy, because you can’t always be on the television or play games on the phone to get through the day. So, our chief coach and members of support staff decided to make sure we were doing something or the other.

“We were asked to do some research on the greatest Olympians ever, and then present to the team on our video calls. It was a nice activity as we learned a fair bit from all the players choosing various legends and talking in detail,” he said.

He thanked Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India for ensuring a safe and healthy return to training.

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