This year has taught me importance of being mentally strong: Suraj Karkera

This year has been tough for people across all walks of life due to COVID-19 and sporting world is no different in that regard. Taking about Indian field hockey players they are currently training in SAI Bengaluru preparing for the Upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2021 where the players are spending time with their peers and understanding the nuances of Hockey to a great extent. As per the media reports senior players are passing their inputs to youngsters so that the youngsters are ready to face tough challenge ahead of 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Indian field hockey player Suraj Karkera who is currently training in SAI is spending time reading books and watching matches of previous years. However, he also recovered from Dengue in August to which he said that this year has made him mentally tougher to face the challenges of life.“This year has been an absolute roller coaster ride. I had decided to stay back in SAI because I felt travelling to Mumbai was not safe for me as it had too many cases of Covid-19. But as fate would have it, I got dengue just when we were getting together to restart the camp. It has since been a steady road to recovery and full fitness,” Karkera said in a statement.

Karkera was also the member of that Indian hockey team who won bronze medal in the 2017 Hockey World League Final and was part of that team who witnessed Asia Cup success in Dhaka in 2017 as well.

He credited his coaches for all the success he had in last few years to which he said “When I was alone in the hostel, I was constantly checked on by our chief coach and scientific advisor. It has not been easy for them either to have not seen their families back home for more than ten months now, so there used to be a lot of talks about being resilient and at times, we would also talk about Graham’s playing days. He has a lot of interesting stories to share with us, and they are all quite inspiring. I personally feel this year has taught us a lot in terms of ‘anything can happen in life’ and we need to be mentally strong to face it.”

Karkera also talked about spending time with senior players like PR Sreejesh, SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Manpreet Singh among other players to hone his skills as goalkeeper.“I feel fortunate to have been in the national coaching camp with stalwart players including someone like Sardar Singh who had so much experience. Now with senior players like Sreejesh, Manpreet, Sunil, Akashdeep etc around, there is a lot that I learn from them. They are constantly guiding me on the field and off it. My focus now is to improve my skill, footwork and timing to be ready for the next assignment and be in the reckoning for team selection,” Karkera said.

Karkera plays as goalkeeper in Indian men’s hockey team who made his debut in Junior team in 2015 and was regular member of the team on several tours and for his outstanding performance in junior team he was immediately promoted in the senior’s team in 2017. He is considered as the future goalkeeping prospect for India after Pr Sreejesh whom he considers his mentor when it comes to learning the goalkeeping skills to a great extent.