India to resume international hockey with women's tour of Argentina in January

Indian women's hockey team will make international return after a long coronavirus break with the tour of Argentina beginning from January 18.

The Indian women's hockey team last played in the three-nations tournament in New Zealand in February 2020.   -  hockey india

India will resume international hockey after almost an year with the women's national team touring Argentina in January next year.

A core group of 25 players and seven support staff will leave from New Delhi on January 3. The team will play four warm-up matches with the Argentina's Junior team and its 'B' team before facing the senior national team in four Tests from January 27 to February 1.

The women's team, led by Rani Rampal, last played an international match on February 5, 2020 in the three-nation tournament in New Zealand where it beat the host 3-0.

"We have a little over 200 days before we arrive in Tokyo for the Olympic Games in July 2021 and it was very important to play matches against a strong team like Argentina," team captain Rani Rampal said in a release issued by Hockey India.

"The team is really excited for this opportunity and has been keenly looking forward to this tour, this exposure will make us understand the level we are at after nearly a five-month long National Coaching Camp in Bengaluru."

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"I am happy that after one year we are able to play international matches. This tour will give us information for the next step to be made in our preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games," said chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

Bio-bubble and no quarantine

Hockey India and the host National Association have planned to create a bio bubble in Argentina for both the teams.

The Indian women's team will be staying in a hotel where provisions to have separate rooms/halls for the team for all the meals, team meetings, sessions etc have been made.

The accommodation will be on twin sharing basis, where the room sharing partners will remain same throughout the tour who will also be same even in case of the seating arrangement in the team coach/bus, this has been planned carefully keeping in mind all necessary requirements.

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Among other protocols, the team members will not be moving out of the bubble and meeting any third-party source as even while travelling to the match/training venue the team will be travelling in a dedicated transport which will only take upto 80% capacity.

The entire Indian contingent will undergo COVID-19 RT-PCR Test 72 hours prior to their departure from New Delhi.

There is no requirement of quarantine upon arrival in Argentina but the team will still be following all safety and health measures as advised by the respective Governments of India and Argentina.

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The men's team last featured in the FIH Pro League match against Australia in Bhubaneswar on February 22, 2020 where it beat the Kookaburras 3-1 in the shootout after regular time ended 2-2.

The women's team, which qualified for the Tokyo Olympics next year, finished at ninth in the 2020 world rankings, while the men's team ended the year at fourth.

Here's the full schedule for the India's tour of Argentina (All Timings in Indian Standard Time (IST))

Monday, January 18, 2021 - India Women vs Argentina Jr. Women - 2.30 am

Wednesday, January 20 - India vs Argentina Jr. - 2.30 am

Saturday, January 23 - India vs Argentina B - 2.30 am

Monday, January 25 - India vs Argentina B - 2.30 am

Wednesday, January 27 - India vs Argentina - 4.00 am

Friday, January 29 - India vs Argentina - 2.00 am

Sunday, January 31 - India vs Argentina - 2.30 am

Monday, February 1 - India vs Argentina - 2.00 am

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