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Hockey India President Gyanandro Ningombam has communicated the federation’s decision in a letter to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra.
Hockey India reasoned that there is only a period of 32 days available between the Birmingham Games (July 28 – August 8) and the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 10-25).
HI said it cannot risk sending its players to the UK, which has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“You will understand that the Asian Games is the continental qualifying event for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris and considering the priority of the Asian Games, Hockey India cannot run the risk of members of the Indian teams contracting Covid-19 during the Commonwealth Games,” Ningombam wrote.
“Therefore, Hockey India will not send its men’s and women’s teams to Commonwealth Games 2022 and will inform you in advance to kindly notify the organizers to identify reserve teams.”
The UK recently refused to recognize India’s Covid-19 vaccination certificates and imposed a 10-day harsh quarantine on travelers from the country, even if they were fully vaccinated.
The discrimination was prominently mentioned in Ningombam’s letter to the IOA president, who has provided instructions for coordination with the FIH, the sport’s world governing body, for the details of the reserve teams. Batra also leads the FIH.
“Such discriminatory restrictions were not imposed on Indian athletes and officials during the recent Tokyo Olympics and this 10-day quarantine requirement for vaccinated athletes will affect their performance,” Ningombam said.
“We believe these restrictions are biased against India and call it very unfortunate,” he said.
HI’s move comes a day after England withdrew from the Junior World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar next month, citing a number of Covid-related concerns and “noting” the Indian government’s mandatory 10-day quarantine protocol for all British subjects.
India imposed reciprocal restrictions on all British nationals arriving in the country following the UK’s steadfast refusal to reconsider the restrictions.
India’s new standards require all British citizens arriving here from the UK, regardless of their vaccination status, to provide the result of the RT-PCR test within 72 hours of departure.
They will also have to perform two more RT-PCR tests, one on arrival at the airport in India and the second on day 8 after arrival.
Both the Indian men’s and women’s teams made it to the medal rounds in the 2018 Gold Coast CWG, but lost to England in the bronze playoffs. The men’s team was beaten 1-2 while the women’s team lost 0-6 to England.
The Birmingham CWG would have been the first major event for both teams after their inspiring performances at the Tokyo Games, where the men’s team won bronze while the women’s a creditable fourth place.
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