Hockey India withdrew from the CWG to focus on the Asian Games, as they did not want to risk sending its players to the U.K. owing to COVID-19.
The website informs that the decision is so that the teams could "put their full focus on the Asian Games 2022 - a continental qualification event for the Paris Olympics 2024." From September 10 to 25, 2022, the Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China. Because it is a direct qualifier for the Paris Olympics, the Asian Games are given precedence.
Mr. Gyanendro Ningombam, President, Hockey India, said, "After a scintillating performance by both the Indian teams at the Tokyo Games, we are focusing on producing even better results at the Paris Olympic stage."
Ningombam communicated the decision to the Indian Olympic Association(IOA) president Narinder Batra in a letter, reported the Hindu. The letter reasoned that the CWG and Asian Games period had only a 32-day gap. The federation H.I. could not risk their players by sending them to the U.K., one of the "worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic." Ningombam wrote, "Hockey India can not risk any members of the Indian teams contracting COVID-19 during the Commonwealth Games."
In addition to the above reasons, Ningombam mentioned the discriminatory factor by the U.K. for the Indian players. He said Tokyo Olympic Games had no discriminatory restrictions, especially for Indian players. Further, he felt biased with the decision and said the "quarantine requirement for vaccinated sports persons will affect their performance."
The Hindu mentioned, "The U.K. recently refused to recognize India's COVID-19 vaccination certificates and imposed a 10-day hard quarantine on travelers from the country even if they were fully vaccinated."
The withdrawal comes after the England Hockey team, on October 4, 2021, announced their withdrawal from the Men's Junior World Cup scheduled to take place in Bhubaneswar, India, from November 24, to December 5, 2021. They reasoned that the "number of COVID-related concerns in place, and with player and staff wellbeing in mind." They added that October 1, the Indian government announced a mandatory ten-day quarantine for all U.K. nationals.
The statement said their decision is alongside Australia and New Zealand hockey federation's withdrawal from the men's / women's Junior World Cups.
Due to the COVID-19 concern, the H.I. decided to withdraw from CWG 2022. The Asian Games 2022 and the discriminatory stance by the U.K. for the Indian players were additional factors.
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