India’s hockey team defender Nilam Sanjeep Xess is relaxed about cementing a place in India XI before rejoining the 22-member squad who returned from a victorious Argentina tour. Nilam along with ten other teammates — including senior pros Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, SV Sunil and Ramandeep Singh — have already been training at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
Nilam was delighted to see the Indian team perform well following their return to international hockey after a year’s gap. “I was closely watching the team during the Argentina tour, and the Europe Tour before that as well. We showed that, on our day, we can match up with any side. The team is in good shape right now and we have to continue building this momentum. It was good to see some of the senior players like Manpreet bhai and Rupinder bhai back in the team and perform so well,” said Nilam.
The 22-year-old understands that with the team in fine form, he might have to wait before adding to the 14 caps he has earned for India so far. “Of course, it is a part and parcel of the game for any young player,” he weighed in.
“The credit has to be given to the ethos set by Chief Coach Graham Reid and the senior players; they never make you feel any less important because you’re a young player who hasn’t played a lot recently. My focus is on making the best use of the opportunities I receive, whether in training or on the pitch. I have realised that one has to be patient to survive in international hockey. Especially in a team where there are so many top players. We are in good form right now. I just want to better myself as a player and not worry too much about other details,” Nilam added.
Nilam has now set his eyes on Tokyo and winning an Olympic gold. “Like any other player, winning an Olympic gold medal has been a lifelong dream for me. I have been really pushing myself over the past year, even when there were no matches. We will continue to work on getting better as a team before flying to Tokyo,” said Nilam.
Source: Hockey India