Hockey India has pulled out of next year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games citing Covid-19 concerns and UK’s discriminatory quarantine rules for travellers from India. The move comes a day after England withdrew from the Men’s Junior Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar over similar reasons.
Hockey India President Gyanandro Ningombam communicated the federation’s decision to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra in a letter. Hockey India said, there is only a 32-day window available between the Commonwealth Games (July 28-August 8) and the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 10-25). Hockey India said it can’t risk sending its players to the UK, which has been one of the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ningombam wrote, 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 can not risk any members of the Indian teams contracting Covid-19 during the Commonwealth Games.
Therefore, Hockey India will not be sending its men and women teams to Commonwealth Games 2022, Ningombam said.