NEW DELHI: The Sports Authority of India on Wednesday announced that the Indian men's and women's hockey teams are scheduled to resume sports activities from 19th August, following the completion of their 14-day quarantine period.
After having had detailed discussions with all stakeholders including the chief coaches and core probables of both the teams and after giving the utmost priority to the safety and well-being of all the athletes, it has been decided that the sporting activities will be resumed at SAI's National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru, as scheduled earlier.
Amid growing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, it was necessary to have detailed discussions with all stakeholders of both the teams, which resulted in having their consensus on the resumption of sports activities from 19th August onwards while maintaining proper social distancing norms and other guidelines in the SAI SOP.
The Indian women's hockey team's chief coach Sjoerd Marijne said he has received a very positive response from his team. Speaking on the announcement by SAI, Marijne said, "I say it on behalf of the whole squad that we are very happy to be back at the National Camp and resuming sports activities by following all the protocols, and feeling safe. Having spoken to all the players about the resumption, I have received a positive response from each of them. We look forward to work hard on the teams fitness in this protected environment."
Meanwhile Graham Reid, chief coach Indian men’s hockey team said, "Following a detailed discussion with all our players and members of the support staff, I am delighted that we will be resuming sports activities here at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru. It is good to know that everyone is eager while making sure their health and wellbeing is our collective priority. We are also in constant touch with the six players who have tested positive for COVID 19. They are in good spirits, and are looking forward to a quick recovery. Once recovered and after following protocol of quarantine, we look forward to have them back with us."
It bears noting that SAI had confirmed on Monday that six national players has contracted the COVID-19 virus in all. Indian hockey team forward Mandeep Singh was the latest to test positive. The 25-year-old from Jalandhar is asymptomatic and is being treated along with the other five players by doctors in Bengaluru.
Speaking about the decision, Captain (Indian Navy) AK Bahl, senior director, NCOE Bengaluru, said: "We are prepared to start sporting activities for the hockey teams. We will provide all logistical support required, as required by the chief coaches of both teams in accordance with SOPs, and ensure that the teams can train in a safe environment."
Both the Indian men's & women's hockey teams are currently at the SAI's National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru, where they are in quarantine for a 14-days period since their arrival on 4th August.