BH CORRESPONDENT, New Delhi: It’s not just the manufacturing industry or importers who are worried about impact of fast spreading coronavirus from China, the news has transcended borders and has now forced the Indian women’s hockey team to cancel its tour of China. The Indian players were scheduled to travel to China on March 14 for nine days.
“We had to travel to China but that has been cancelled due to the virus. So a lot of teams are also not available to play with because they are participating in the Pro hockey league,” Indian skipper Rani Rampal told news agency PTI.
The travel ban is not the only issue for the hockey federation who are now tasked with finding a befitting opponent for the Indians to compete with as part of its preparation for the Olympics.
“Hockey India and our coaches are working out whom to play,” Rani added. All the top teams including Argentina, Belgium, Australia, Germany, China, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand and United States are competing in the FIH Pro Hockey League.
With less than five months left for the Olympics, preparing for the quadrennial event is a top priority for the team and its management. “For good preparation, you need to play with good teams,” Rani said. After the tour of New Zealand recently, the Indian team is schedule to go through a four-week training and conditioning camp from February 16 to March 14.
Time is critical as the women’s team will be left with just three weeks of free time before they again head to a training and preparatory camp on April 6. In 2019, the Indian women’s team booked an Olympic berth by defeating USA at the Bhubaneswar leg of the 2019 FIH Olympic Qualifiers. For now, it will be only the third appearance by the Indian side at the Olympics.
With agency inputs