Indian hockey teams withdraw from Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

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In yet another massive development, the Indian Hockey Teams on Tuesday pulled out of the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 reportedly citing COVID concerns and the UK govt’s mandatory 10-day quarantine.

India’s move to pull out of the Commonwealth Games comes amid the UK government travel advisory which considers Indians travelling to UK ‘unvaccinated’ even if they were double jabbed.

As per reports, the decision of the Indian Hockey Teams to pull out of the Birmingham 2022 came a day after England withdrew from this year’s FIH Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar citing the 10-day quarantine rule imposed by India.

Hockey India President Gyanandro Ningombam communicated the federation’s decision to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra in a letter. Hockey India reasoned that there is only a 32-day window available between the Birmingham Games (July 28-August 8) and the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 10-25).

HI said it can’t risk sending its players to the UK, which has been one of the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “You will appreciate that 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,” Ningombam wrote. “Therefore, Hockey India will not be sending its men and women teams to Commonwealth Games 2022 and are informing you in advance to kindly notify the Organisers to identify reserve teams.”

The UK recently refused to recognise India’s COVID-19 vaccination certificates and imposed a 10-day hard quarantine on travellers from the country even if they were fully vaccinated.

This was prominently mentioned in Ningombam’s letter to the IOA President, who has issued instructions for co-ordination with the sport’s world governing body FIH for the details of the reserve teams. Batra heads the FIH as well. “Such discriminatory restrictions were not imposed on Indian athletes and officials during the recent Tokyo Olympic Games and this 10-day quarantine requirement for vaccinated sports persons will affect their performance,” Ningombam stated. “We feel these restrictions are biased against India and term it as very unfortunate,” he said.

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