Commonwealth Games 2022: India on Tuesday withdrew from the Commonwealth Games hockey competition to be held in Birmingham next year due to concerns over Kovid-19 and Britain’s discriminatory segregation rules towards travelers to the country. England had also pulled out of the Junior Men’s World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar a day earlier, citing the same reasons. Hockey India President Gyanandro Ningobam has conveyed the federation’s decision to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra.
Hockey India has said that there is only a 32 day gap between the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (28 July to 8 August) and the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 10-25) and they do not want to risk sending their players to the UK which is affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It has been included in the most affected countries. Ningobam wrote, “Asian Games 2024 is a continental qualification event for the Paris Olympic Games and keeping in mind the priority of the Asian Games, Hockey India cannot risk any player from Indian teams contracting COVID-19 during the Commonwealth Games.” .”
“Hence, Hockey India will not send its men’s and women’s teams for the Commonwealth Games 2022 and you are being informed in time to inform the organizers to identify the reserve teams,” he said. The same was being expressed when the IOA president said that Hockey India has indicated to him that it wants to keep the team in top form for the Asian Games as it is also an Olympic qualifier.
Sports ministry sources said that efforts would be made to persuade Hockey India to send a second-rate team there. Britain recently refused to recognize India’s Kovid-19 vaccination certificates and made mandatory 10 days of strict isolation for travelers coming from the country despite their full vaccination. This discrimination has been highlighted prominently in a letter sent to the IOA president, who has directed the reserve teams to coordinate with the sport’s global governing body. Batra is also the president of FIH.
“Such discriminatory sanctions were not applicable to Indian sportspersons and officials even during the recently held Tokyo Olympic Games and their performance would be affected by the 10-day isolation for vaccinated athletes,” Ningobam wrote.
He said, “We think these restrictions are discriminatory against India and are quite unfortunate.” Referring to England’s concerns related to Kovid-19 and the Indian government’s mandatory 10-day quarantine for all UK citizens. Hockey India’s move comes a day after it pulled out of the FIH Men’s Junior World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar next month.
After the restrictions of Britain, India also imposed similar restrictions on British citizens coming to the country. Under India’s new rules, all UK nationals coming here from the UK, regardless of their vaccination status, will have to show the result of the RT-PCR test within 72 hours of travel. On arrival in India, he will have two more RT-PCR tests in the airport and then on the eighth day.
Both India’s men’s and women’s teams reached the medal round of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but lost to England in the bronze medal play-off. The men’s team lost 1-2 while the women’s team lost 0-6.
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