India on Tuesday pulled out of next year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games‘ hockey competition, citing COVID-19 concerns and UK’s discriminatory quarantine rules. The withdrawal comes a day after England’s withdrawal from the junior men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar over similar reasons.
Hockey India President Gyanandro Ningombam communicated the federation’s decision to Indian Olympic Association. The decision is relayed to President Narinder Batra(IOA) in a letter.
They reasoned that there is only a 32-day window available between the Birmingham Games and the Hangzhou Asian Games. The association says that it cannot risk sending its players to the UK.
The letter says.
You will appreciate that the Asian games is the Continental qualification event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and keeping the priority of the Asian Games in mind, Hockey India can not risk any members of the Indian teams contracting COVID-19 during the Commonwealth Games.
Therefore, Hockey India will not be sending its men and women teams to Commonwealth Games 2022. We are informing you in advance to kindly notify the Organisers to identify reserve teams.
Hockey India withdraws from 2022 Commonwealth Games due to be held in England over COVID concern pic.twitter.com/k9bAuEKylo
— ANI (@ANI) October 5, 2021
While the UK recently refused to recognize India’s COVID-19 vaccination certificates and imposed a 10-day hard quarantine on travelers.
This is prominently mentioned in Ningombam’s letter to the IOA President. However, HI’s move comes a day after England pulled out of the junior World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar next month
While they also sighted similar reasons, for COVID-related concerns and taking “note” of the 10-quarantine rules. India imposed reciprocal curbs on all British nationals arriving in the country. This comes after UK’s steadfast refusal to reconsider its restrictions.
2018 Commonwealth Games
Both the Indian men’s and women’s teams reached the medal rounds in the 2018 Gold Coast CWG but lost to England in the bronze play-offs. The men’s team lost 1-2 while the women’s team lost 0-6 to England.
The Birmingham CWG would have been the first big event for both teams after the Tokyo Olympic Games. Where the Indian men’s team secured Bronze and the Women’s team finished on a historic 4th spot