The Indian women's hockey team, led by Rani Rampal, left for Argentina on Sunday for its first tour in nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly halted all competitions around the world. A core group of 25 players and seven support staff members left from New Delhi.
The Indian women's team will compete in eight matches against host Argentina, starting from January 17. "It feels amazing to be touring again. We have worked very hard on our game in the last few months and the time has come for us to execute our skills in an international match," skipper Rani said ahead of departure.
"Playing in international matches is going to be a bit different this time since we will be in a bio bubble. However, the team is excited to be back on the field in the best possible manner at the moment," she added.
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 entire Indian contingent underwent a COVID-19 RT-PCR test 72 hours before their departure. There is no requirement for quarantine upon arrival in Argentina. But the team will follow all safety and health measures as advised by the respective governments of India and Argentina, a release said.
India's vice-captain and goalkeeper Savita thanked Hockey India and SAI for arranging the tour.
"We desperately needed to get back into the competitive mode as there's not much time left for the Olympics. We have been doing well in practice sessions, but an international match is always the real test for any sportsperson," said Savita.
"We are really looking forward to a great tour and hopefully, we start playing to our full potential right from the first match," she added.