The Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams will skip the 2022 Commonwealth Games to prioritize the 2022 Asian Games and the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifiers. The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham, from July 28 to August 8, while the Asian Games will be held from September 10-25.
The Indian men’s hockey team claimed an Olympic medal for the first time in 41 years, having finished at the third spot in Tokyo, earlier this year. On the other hand, the women’s team also played phenomenally, narrowly missing out on a medal, in their third-ever appearance at the Games.
Going forward, the national teams have four major assignments on hand – 2022 Commonwealth Games, 2022 Asian Games, 2023 FIH World Cup, and the 2024 Paris Olympics.
However, the governing body has decided that the men’s and the women’s hockey teams will skip the 2022 Commonwealth Games to prioritize on the 2022 Asian Games and the qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympics. India has already qualified for the 2023 FIH World Cup, by virtue of being the hosts.
“The Asian Games is the continental qualification event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and keeping the priority of the Asian Games in mind, Hockey India cannot take a risk of any members of the Indian teams contracting COVID-19 during the above Commonwealth Games,” stated Hockey India President Gyanendro Nigombam, in a letter to the IOC (Indian Olympic Association).
The Hockey India chief also added that a packed calendar would put them in a fix if the teams were to compete in both the events given the current Covid-19 situation around the world.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham, England from July 28–August 8. Meanwhile, the Asian Games will be staged in Hangzhou, China, from September 10-25.
“There is only a 32-day window between the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games before the start of the Asian Games. It is pertinent to mention that due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, England has issued guidelines that 10 days quarantine is required for Indian arrivals in England even for those who are fully vaccinated since unfortunately the Indian vaccinations are not yet recognised by the English government,” added the letter.