‘Extremely disappointed’, says India’s hockey coach Graham Reid as Covid hits preparations again | Hockey News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The Covid pandemic in India continues to behave like an untamed horse as numbers hit a steep rise. It has resulted in countries denying entry to people from India, which has once again come back to hit the Indian men’s hockey team’s Olympic preparations.
The team’s Pro League (PL) fixtures last month were postponed after the UK ‘red flagged’ India due to the rising Covid-19 cases in the country. The numbers have worsened since then. As a result, India’s other two European fixtures in the PL, against Spain and Germany, this month have also been postponed.
With New Zealand too already confirming their absence for their away leg of the PL in India at the end of this month, India’s PL campaign for now is effectively over, unless all four fixtures are held at a later date, but before the Olympics begin on July 23.

At the moment, that appears to be a remote possibility.
“We are extremely disappointed that we can’t travel for the FIH Pro League matches because of the ensuing conditions due to Covid-19,” Graham Reid said in a reply to Timesofindia.com through Hockey India‘s media department.
“Hockey India, in consultation with FIH, is looking for alternative dates.”
In case rescheduling the PL fixtures is ruled out, India may look to participate in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup unless Malaysia too remains a no-entry zone for travellers flying in from India. Hockey India, meanwhile, must also be exploring other competitive opportunities for the team.
As of now, the Azlan Shah tournament is scheduled for June 18-27.

(India’s last competitive games were during their Pro League tour of Argentina in April – HI Photo)
“This [postponement of PL fixtures] has not affected our focus or determination to improve. The players remain as motivated in their pursuit to do well at the Olympic Games,” Reid added.
The Indian men’s and women’s teams are currently in a national camp at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru.

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