FIH Hockey Women's Junior World Cup put on hold in South Africa due to COVID

The event was set to be held from December 5 to 16 in Potchefstroom in SA. The FIH hasn’t announced an alternate window yet.

By Utathya Nag

The FIH Hockey Women's Junior World Cup 2021, which was set to be held in Potchefstroom, South Africa from December 5, has been put on hold due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus variant in the country.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH), the South African Hockey Association and the North-West University of Potchefstroom have jointly decided that the event cannot be organised under the current circumstances.

Sixteen teams, including India, were set to participate in the event. Argentina are the defending champions. India were scheduled to fly out on Saturday from their camp in Bangalore.

“The safety of everyone involved in the FIH events is an absolute priority,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil explained. “Additionally, many countries, including from some of the participating teams, have now strongly increased their travel restrictions with South Africa, including halting flights. Therefore, it simply isn’t possible to maintain this event as planned.

“This is hugely disappointing. An FIH Junior World Cup is so important for the development of young players. Also, it was the first time that an FIH World Cup was due to take place on African soil. On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank all teams for their understanding as well as the local organisers for their great work and collaboration,” Weil added.

The FIH will keep monitoring the situation and take a decision about the potential staging of the women’s junior World Cup later.

The discovery of the new variant called B.1.1.529 has been a cause of global concern with several European countries already having put in travel restrictions to curb the threat.

The ongoing men’s junior hockey World Cup is being held in Bhubaneshwar, India.

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