Field hockey national teams are already looking for ways to be competitive in the future. The FIH Pro Hockey League Season 2 has been extended until June 2021 due to coronavirus. The 2nd season of Pro Hockey League was set to run from Jan to June 2020 and around one-third of the matches have already been completed before the Coronavirus crisis brought competition to a halt in March.
With the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially announcing that July 23 to August 8 next year will be launch dates for the Tokyo Olympics, International men’s and women’s field hockey teams are already eyeing challenges ahead.
Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad, President of Hockey India, reinforced these sentiments:
“Since we have already qualified, the planning becomes easier. We will be working
closely with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Ministry, Youth Affairs & Sports
and Sports Authority of India in this next 15 months to ensure both our teams have
the best resources to achieve success at the Olympic Games.
“At this moment it is not clear which competitions will be available for us
to play given the various national Government advisories on the Covid-19 situation,
however, both our teams are in a secured environment in Bengaluru and since the coaches
and support staff are also there, our athletes can get back to high-intensity
training as soon as we have a go ahead,”
Indian men’s team head coach Graham Reid who had already extolled the added time
to prepare the team for challenges ahead said: “It’s great to get some clarity about the new starting date for the Tokyo Olympic Games. This allows us to begin the planning process to be ready for July next year.
“In the meantime, we are looking forward to getting through this current tough period and hope to be back out on the training field as soon as possible.”
Sjoerd Marijne, head coach of the Indian women’s team also said that the team is chomping at the bit for a resumption of play.
“It’s good we have certainty when the Olympics will be held and we can work towards that. We are all in the same campus and available for each other in these hard times, a new date for the Olympics is good news for all of us. But for now, we are living by the day, staying strong mentally and physically
and wait eagerly to get back to our normal routine. We are prepared to hit the reset button,” said Marijne.
Ever since making her Senior Team debut in 2007, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s reliable striker Vandana Katariya is eger to once more give her best for the team.
She said the team are spending time watching footage of their opponents. Speaking about the current frustrating hiatus in play Vandana said her team is 100% concentrating on being better prepared than their opponents.
“Obviously the main thing for all of us is always to play hockey on the field, but this time has given us the chance to focus on other key factors which make a team so successful. We haven’t been able to be on the pitch, but our minds are always on the pitch. We are trying to maintain our fitness levels as best as we can, so that when we are back, we are sharper than our opponents,” enthused Vandana, who has over 240 International Caps for India.
Meanwhile Great Britain Hockey have postponed our two scheduled weekends of home matches in 2020. Britain’s men’s and women’s teams were due to face Spain/USA on 24-25 May and Germany on 13-14 June, all at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. GB hockey says fans who purchased tickets for these games will receive a full refund, and the season ticket holders and Premium Experience customers.
British field hockey players such as firebrand, Esme Burge too are eager to get back to playing and she was equally confident: “In the next cycle and the one after we’ll hopefully be absolutely owning it on the world stage. People are already doing that but imagine what we could be doing in a few years’ time. It’s so nice that there’s a real tight knit group of us. It’s very exciting.“