The Indian men's and women's hockey teams' preparations for the Tokyo Olympics received a major blow as the COVID-induced travel ban has made it unlikely for them to travel to Europe.
The men’s side has been in tremendous form ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. India beat 2016 Olympic champions Argentina in their own den in the FIH Pro League. The Men in Blue also registered two wins in practice matches in addition to drawing one game and losing one.
Earlier, India also remained unbeaten on their European tour which included a 6-0 thrashing of Germany.
India's scheduled matches with Spain (May 15-16) and Germany (May 22-23) in the FIH Pro League are now in doubt since the country has been put on the red list by several European nations.
“India has been put on the red list by Germany due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the country while one has to stay in isolation for 10 days upon arrival in Spain,” a Hockey India spokesperson told Sportskeeda on Tuesday. The India versus Great Britain FIH Pro League encounters had already been postponed earlier.
India has been reporting more than three lakh new cases on a daily basis over the past few days. Travel in May also looks far from possible as the country has banned all international flights until the end of the month.
Indian women had disastrous tours of Germany, Argentina
The situation is the same for women too. After disastrous tours of Germany and Argentina, the Indian women’s teams’ stay at home got prolonged, with seven national team players testing positive for COVID-19. Now with this travel ban in place, the duration at home is set to be even longer.
Unlike Reid, women's head coach Sjoerd Marijne has an uphill task at hand to prepare the side for the Olympics with no competitive games in sight. Both men's and women's teams have secured their Tokyo Olympics tickets back in 2019.