The year 2021 will be cherished forever in the history of Indian sports as it allowed the Indian men's hockey team to end the 41-year Olympic Medal drought. Defying the odds and overcoming various challenges thrown by the deadly Covid-19 virus, the Manpreet Singh-led side clinched the historic bronze medal at the prestigious Tokyo Olympics in August 2021.
Having spent almost one-and-a-half-year in SAI, Bengaluru before Tokyo Olympics, skipper Manpreet, while reflecting on the year, expressed: "It's true 2021 has brought a new dawn for Indian hockey. It's been a dream year. Of course, it was full of challenges, ups and downs, and I am proud of how we have overcome each obstacle to bring back the Olympic glory. It was hard work of not four but five years. We spent one whole year at the camp, trying to adapt to the new norms of life. Our whole lifestyle has changed. We started living the bio-bubble life. So, there were challenges off the field as well."
"The team unity was one of the biggest reasons behind our Olympics success." said the 29-year-old.
Riding on their historic campaign at Olympics, the Indian Men's team also bagged FIH Hockey Stars Awards 2021 in all the categories.
In November, the Indian Men's Hockey team members were also conferred with National Sports Awards.
The Indian team finished third at the recently concluded Men's Asian Champions Trophy 2021, defeating arch-rivals Pakistan 4-3 in a thrilling third/fourth placing match. Moreover, as per the recent world rankings announced by the FIH, the Men's Hockey team will end the dream year on the third spot, their highest-ever FIH World ranking since its introduction in 2003. The team now looks forward to capitalising on this historic year as they gear up for the busy season in 2022.