Confirmed: national hockey camps for Tokyo Olympics to resume from August 19

The hockey camps will go ahead as per schedule and the COVID positive players are likely to join once they recover.

By Rahul Venkat

The national camps for the Indian hockey men’s and women’s teams will start next week on August 19, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) announced on Wednesday.

With six players, including skipper Manpreet Singh and striker Mandeep Singh, from the Indian hockey men’s team hospitalised as a precautionary measure after testing positive for COVID-19, the status of the national camp was uncertain.

However, after a discussion with core team members and chief coaches of both Indian hockey teams, it was decided that the national camps for the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead as planned.

"I say it on behalf of the whole squad that we are very happy to be back at the national camp. Having spoken to the players about the resumption, I received a positive response from each of them,” said women’s team chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

Indian hockey men’s team coach Graham Reid echoed Dutchman Marijne’s sentiments.

“It is good to know that everyone is eager while making sure their health and wellbeing is our collective priority,” said Australian Reid, who has been camping at the SAI campus in Bengaluru.

“We are also in constant touch with the six players who have tested positive for COVID 19. They are in good spirits and are looking forward to a quick recovery. Once recovered and after following protocol of quarantine, we look forward to have them back with us.”

The Indian hockey teams will be back in training at the national camp next week. Photo: Hockey India

Both Indian hockey teams had reported to the SAI’s National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru on August 4 after a month-long break at home.

The players are currently undergoing a 14-day quarantine period, mandated by government guidelines and the SAI’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

The national camp had accordingly been scheduled to start on August 19, a day after the quarantine period ends. But the COVID cases forced a review.

It will be a new experience for the teams though, as they would have to follow some new rules, which includes social distancing and no-contact training, when they resume practice.