COVID-induced travel ban likely to hurt Indian hockey teams

The growing list of countries banning travel from India to contain the COVID-19 spread could snatch international matches from the hockey team.

Indian men's hockey team coach Graham Reid at a training session in SAI, Bengaluru.   -  FILE PHOTO/K. MURALI KUMAR

The Indian men’s hockey team restarted its international assignments after more than a year with a preparatory tour in Europe in February and an extended tour of Argentina for the Pro League games last month. The women went to Argentina and Germany. But they seem to be destined for a long period at home henceforth.

Germany has joined the growing list of countries that have suspended travel from India in the face of growing COVID cases here, starting April 25. Only German citizens are allowed entry back home. Spain, on the other hand, has put in place a hard 10-day mandatory quarantine period for Indians.

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Indian men are scheduled to play Pro League games against Spain on May 15-16 and Germany on May 22-23. Their scheduled games against Great Britain on the coming weekend have already been postponed.

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With the team still in Bengaluru, the matches appear unlikely, adding another blow to the team’s preparations for Tokyo even as European nations continue to engage each other.

The women are no better. With no Pro League for them, there were plans to travel to Netherlands for practice matches and training but that too seems off and is not listed any more on Hockey India’s website.