The coronavirus pandemic has once again formed a strong force in hindering sports. There has been a huge spike in India after the arrival of the second wave of COVID-19. Considering the situation, most of the countries have completely restricted travel from India. This has become a major roadblock for several Olympians who had to travel abroad for training ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Starting from players falling sick to tournament matches getting postponed, a lot is happening in the sports world at the moment. The Indian men’s Hockey team also faced a similar situation when their FIH Hockey Pro League matches got cancelled as the United Kingdom government decided to not allow any flights from India.
Their matches against Spain and Germany are also in jeopardy as the governments there are also not sure of allowing the Indians to come as the cases spike largely in India. New Zealand who were scheduled to play against the Men in Blue in India have refrained from travelling amid the current situation in the country.
This is a major concern for our boys as they were looking in great shape and have great chances of reaching the podium in this Olympics. However now with potentially no matches till the Summer Games due to COVID-19, it will be a huge blow for chief coach Graham Reid and the entire team.
“We are extremely disappointed that we can’t travel for the FIH Pro League matches because of the ensuing conditions due to Covid-19. Hockey India, in consultation with FIH, is looking for alternative dates,” stated Graham Reid.
If they are lucky the Indian Hockey team will feature in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia mainly to keep the players in shape and match fit. But there are serious questions over participation in that tournament as well as there are chances that the Malaysian government imposes a travel ban on India.
This (postponement of Pro League fixtures) has not affected our focus or determination to improve. The players remain motivated in their pursuit to do well at the Olympics,” Reid said.
At the moment the Indian men’s team are in the national camp formed at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru.