Hockey India has reversed its decision to withdraw from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Louise Martin announced that the Indian hockey teams will compete at the CWG.
The Commonwealth Games are slated to be held between July 28 and August 8, 2021. The Indian men's hockey team clinched a historic bronze medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after 41 years. It was India's first Olympic hockey medal since winning a medal in Moscow in 1980. Meanwhile, the women's team managed a fourth-place finish at the Summer Games.
Indian Olympic Association (IOC) President Narinder Batra and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur have assured India's participation in CWG, provided they qualify for the event. Martin stated that the Indian hockey teams will have to secure a CWG qualification berth.
“No team has been offered a place yet but the IOA have said to CGF President they (IOA) will accept if the teams qualify which is highly likely,” the CGF official told PTI.
Earlier, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur reprehended Hockey India’s for its unilateral decision to opt out of the CWG without any interaction with the sports ministry.
"The hockey federation should have consulted the sports ministry and the government before making the decision to withdraw from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Thakur also hit out at the players saying if cricketers can play in IPL as well as the World Cup, why can't hockey players participate in the Asian and Commonwealth Games?," said Anurag Thakur.
Indian hockey teams will compete at Commomwealth Games "if they qualify" - Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF):
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has come to an agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), assuring that India's men's and women's hockey teams will participate in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra during a dialogue with CGF president Louise Martin stated that the Indian hockey contingent will take part in the Commonwealth Games only after securing qualification.
"Indian Sports Minister has been involved I understand and he has been influential. The GCF President (Dame Louis Martin) has been in close dialogue with IOA President." Asked if the development means Indian hockey teams will take part in the Birmingham Games, he said, "Yes, that would be correct, if they (the teams) qualify."
The list of qualified countries taking part in the hockey tournament at Birmingham CWG has not yet been announced and is set to be made official in February next year.
Earlier, in October, Hockey India made an announcement regarding its withdrawal from the 2022 Commonwealth games, citing COVID-19 distress. The 2022 Asian Games will ensure a direct qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Therefore, keeping in mind all the issues and the Hangzhou Asian Games, a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Hockey India took a backstep from the CWG.