The new COVID-19 variant, which is wreaking havoc across South Africa, has put the Women’s Hockey Junior World Cup on hold, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed.
The biennial tournament was scheduled to commence in South Africa on December 5.
The decision to cancel the Women’s Hockey Junior World Cup was taken jointly after consultations with the South African Hockey Association and the North-West University of Potchefstroom.
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The FIH CEO Thierry Weil, in a media release, confirmed the postponement of the marquee event and said the safety of everyone is of importance.
“The safety of everyone involved in the FIH events is an absolute priority, Weil said. Additionally, many countries, including some of the participating teams, have now strongly increased their travel restrictions with South Africa, including halting flights. Therefore, it simply isn’t possible to maintain this event as planned. This is hugely disappointing,” he added.
Importance of marquee tournaments for junior hockey teams
South Africa was scheduled to host the Junior Hockey World Cup for the first time. FIH CEO Weil said the Junior World Cup is of utmost importance for all young players and hoped things would improve soon. He added:
“An FIH Junior World Cup is so important for the development of young players. It was the first time that an FIH World Cup was due to take place on African soil. On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank all teams for their understanding as well as the local organizers for their great work and collaboration,” he said.
The Indian hockey junior teams act as a feeder system for senior teams and many experts have been vocal about more match practice and more marquee tournaments for Indian hockey junior teams.
A cash-rich hockey league would also put junior players in good stead and gear up for bigger challenges.
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