A dampener for the hockey cheerers. The Covid-19 shadow is likely to eclipse the upcoming high-voltage FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2021 scheduled to be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar in next month.
Speaking exclusively to Odishatv.in, Odisha Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera said the most awaited Junior Hockey World Cup may be postponed due to the prevailing Covid-19 scenario.
The mega tournament is scheduled to be held From November 24-December 5 2021 in the Sports Capital of the country.
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“We have no option but to postpone the tournament as some countries are reluctant to participate in the tournament as scheduled for the pandemic,” the Minister said.
The Pull Outs
As per Behera, three important countries have pulled out from the tournament citing Covid-19 related concerns.
“England colts and other two countries have already announced their non-participation. Recently, the two countres have expressed their inability to take part in the tournament for the same reason,” the Minister disclosed.
“In view of the major pullouts, Government has no option but to reschedule the tournament. Because, we have to take care of the logistics as well,” he added.
New Date Soon?
Though the postponement seems almost certain, there has been no decision on the new date as of today, Behera mentioned.
“The final decision with regard to a new date for the tournament will be decided after a meeting with Hockey India officials and other stakeholders,” he added.
As many as 16 teams namely - Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Belgium, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, USA, Canada, Chile, Argentina and the host India - will be featuring in the tournament.
Buoyed by the performance of Men’s Hockey team’s scintillating show in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, and the accolades that come Odisha way for sponsoring the Indian Hockey contingent, the State Government will raise a toast to the game.
The State is gearing up in top speed to host the 2023 FIH Men's Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.
(Edited by Sanjeev Kumar Patro)