Eye on Tokyo Olympics, Defender Varun Kumar Wants to Excel in FIH Hockey Pro League

India hockey crew defender Varun Kumar shall be excessive on confidence when the Manpreet Singh-led aspect takes on Olympic champions Argentina within the FIH Hockey Professional League in Buenos Aires on April 11 and 12.

One of many key gamers within the crew that received the junior hockey World Cup in Lucknow in 2016, Varun shortly emerged as a promising defender and was a part of the bronze-winning crew on the 2018 Asian Video games in Jakarta.

However a sequence of damage setbacks to the 25-year-old hailing from Punjab noticed him sidelined and his final worldwide outing was in October 2019 throughout India’s tour of Belgium.

The final one-and-a-half years have been a nightmare for the defender as he suffered a shoulder damage, contracted Covid-19 and in addition suffered a hamstring damage whereas on a comeback path. However with the clock ticking in direction of the Tokyo Olympics, Varun obtained a name from India’s chief coach Graham Reid for the Argentina tour and he’s now “thrilled to be wearing the India jersey again”.

“I am extremely happy to make a comeback after one year and five months…It took me five-six months to recover from my shoulder injury and then I contracted Covid-19 as well. In the meanwhile, I also suffered a hamstring injury. My world had collapsed at that point,” mentioned the defender detailing his struggles during the last year-and-a-half years.

Now match and raring to go, Varun hopes to be part of the 2 follow matches, on April 6 and seven, in opposition to the house crew earlier than the larger take a look at, the FIH Hockey Professional League matches, on April 11 and 12.

Regardless of the setbacks, Varun stored reminding himself that his “chance to shine” will come quickly.

“The key was to stay motivated and be patient for opportunities to come your way,” mentioned Varun.

“It wasn’t easy for me. Being out for a long period would sometimes take a toll on me mentally and my mind would begin to wander. I slowly began to accept that such injuries, and the subsequent layoff periods, are a part and parcel of a player’s life,” he added.

“My coaches and the senior players in the side such as Manpreet Singh, PR Sreejesh and Rupinder Pal Singh guided me a lot. They are big players who have seen many highs and lows in their careers. They told me to work hard on regaining my fitness and giving my 100 per cent once the opportunity comes along. Their advice helped me immensely,” Varun added.

A commanding efficiency in Buenos Aires will almost definitely cement Varun’s place within the squad for the Tokyo Olympics.

“Yes, that is my target — to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics. Even though I’ve been out of competitive action for a while, I can get into the rhythm of playing very soon. Playing for your country is such a big honour and wearing the India jersey just gives you confidence to achieve great things for your country. The opportunity to play in the Olympics is also an added boost; it’s a dream for any player. So I am keen to make an impact for my team whenever I get to play,” mentioned Varun.

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