Indian hockey national camps for Olympics to resume

All national hockey probables for the Tokyo Olympics, as well as coaches and support staff, will undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

By Utathya Nag

The national camps for the Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams will resume from August 4 at Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru. 

The decision to reorganise the camp after a break was taken after permission was granted by the Karnataka government to the SAI.

The core group for the men’s hockey team includes 33 players and eight coaches. The women’s contingent has 24 players and seven coaches.

National camps for both men's and women's Indian hockey teams will be held in Bengaluru. Photo: Hockey India

As per state protocols, the campers will have to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine inside the SAI campus.

“Athletes, coaches and support staff will also be tested when they arrive in Bengaluru to ensure that all campers are at a reduced risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus,” a statement released by SAI stated.

The SAI Bengaluru administration has already conducted online workshops with athletes, coaches and support staff to streamline the process.

Long break and delay

The women’s hockey team had initially started training in Bengaluru from February. The men started in March after their FIH Hockey Pro League commitments.

However, with the COVID-19 outbreak and India going under lockdown from March 25, regular practice and activities had to be put on hold.

Due to the lockdown and travel bans, though, all players, coaches and support staff were stuck at the SAI centre in Bengaluru for over three months before they were finally allowed to go back to their respective homes on June 19.

The initial plan was to recall them on July 19, but it needed to be postponed considering various variables arising due to the pandemic situation.