Focus is on fitness and securing spot in India’s Tokyo hockey squad: Khokhar

Indian women’s hockey team defender Reena Khokhar on Saturday said she isn’t thinking too much about the upcoming Olympics and is primarily focussed on staying at the top of her game and remain fit to secure a place in the Tokyo Games-bound squad.

If selected, it will be Khokar’s maiden outing at the Olympics, a dream which she is desperate to realise.

“The pressure builds up when you think about the future. Hence, we are trying to stay in the present moment,’ said Khokhar ahead of the quadrennial event, scheduled to start in Tokyo on July 23.

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“We are just working hard because we have less than 60 days left. Everyone is focusing on doing things in a perfect way, and not taking any practice sessions casually.

“We don’t have much time left, so every one of us is also paying attention to small things such as diet, fitness, and even being cautious of injuries because at present these little things really matter the most.” The 28-year-old defender emphasised that the team has been benefiting a lot from the sessions conducted by analytical coach Janneke Schopman.

“We attend these sessions twice a week and do all the types of breathing exercises,” she said.

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“I feel this has been helping us a lot to stay calm and be in the present moment during our training sessions. It creates a positive energy around the team, and it’s a very good exercise introduced by both Janneke and our chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.” Asked about how she is personally approaching the quadrennial event, the defender said, “The first thing that comes to mind is whether I will be in the team or not.

“And, obviously, this thought does play out in everyone’s mind. But, that’s not something I am really bothered about. I just want to keep working hard and keep doing what I have been doing without thinking too much,” she said.

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