KUALA LUMPUR: The stick has got “heavier” after three months and defender Mohd Najmi Farizal Jazlan thinks it will take almost two months before he gets back his touch in the penalty corner drag flicks.
The 25-year-old international from Kangar said he has not held a hockey stick since the movement control order (MCO) began on March 18.
“I feel the stick is heavy and I don’t have the strength to take a penalty corner because I haven’t had gym training since March, ” he said.
The national players, who resumed training at Bukit Jalil on July 1, are now getting back to the basics, with pushing, hitting and stopping.
“We (the players) spent more time doing stretching and jogging to get back our fitness. At the moment, we are not allowed to play together because of the social distancing but I believe we will be allowed to play as a team by next month, ” said Najmi, who has represented Malaysia 90 times since making his debut in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan in 2016.
Najmi, who helped the Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) to bag the treble – Charity Shield, league and overall titles – in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) in February, said he hoped to get his penalty corner form back in two months.
“I hope to be ready for the Razak Cup tournament (from Sept 18-26. The venue has yet to be decided).
“I have about four months to prepare for the Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka in November. It will be my third Champions Trophy andI really want to be on the podium, ” said Najmi, who last played for Malaysia in the four-nation tournament in Tokyo last August, which was a warm-up tournament for the Tokyo Olympics.
Najmi said that, despite the pandemic, it has been a wonderful year for him. His wife Noor Izzati Bashirah gave birth to twin baby girls in April.
“I am now a proud father of four, ” said Najmi, who is pursuing a degree in mass communication at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
The other penalty corners drag flickers in the national team are Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim and Mohd Shahril Saabah.