Gold medal favourites Belgium worry they may have misplaced probably the most merit they held over their competitors for the Olympic males’s hockey identify after the postponement of the Tokyo Video games and the radical coronavirus-induced carrying hiatus.
Trainer Shane McLeod, who led Belgium to silver in Rio de Janeiro 4 years in the past after which a Global Cup identify in 2018, believes the taking part in box is now stage once more with the Video games postponed via a 12 months. However he insists it handiest served to intensify the problem for him and his avid gamers.
“I used to be more than happy with how we have been going,” he mentioned, with Belgium having secured qualification via successful remaining 12 months’s EuroHockey Countries Championship whilst their competitors needed to play every other qualifying match so as to e book a berth to Japan.
“We purchased ourselves 8 weeks that different countries did not have, so whilst we have been operating on person facets of our sport, different international locations have been nonetheless desiring to qualify.
“I believe we had a little bit of a headstart and also you noticed that within the Professional League video games we performed previous this 12 months.”
Belgium have been topping the desk after six suits of the new-look nine-nation round-robin festival that extends over a two-year length and pits hockey’s best facets in opposition to every different in common festival.
“I am a little bit upset we were not in a position to simply stay on going, principally as a result of the effects we have been reaching,” the 51-year-old New Zealand-born McLeod added in an interview with Reuters.
“Now we need to recreate that efficiency hole, however it is going to be a contemporary problem.”
McLeod, who has labored in quite a lot of capacities in Belgian hockey over the past 20 years, had deliberate a 12-month sabbatical after this 12 months’s Video games however has put that on grasp to stick with the crew as they readjust plans for subsequent 12 months.
He mentioned the lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic had offered new demanding situations which had confirmed “stimulating”.
“Simply making an attempt to determine how will we do that; what’s going to be the most efficient imaginable consequence for us has been slightly a riding issue,” he mentioned.
“Now we have spent a large number of time understanding how we very best get ready for the Olympics in those present instances and much more detailed conversations with our sports activities science colleagues.
“Usually we’ve got a formulation that we reproduce, possibly wonderful music slightly, however that is in reality other and now have been ad-libbing in spaces the place we have by no means been sooner than however seeing some certain results.
“All of the countries have pressed the ‘reset’ button now and feature to start out from scratch once more, however I believe we’re going to be OK,” McLeod added.