The Indian men’s hockey team missed an opportunity to test their competitive skills after their home games in the FIH Professional Hockey League against New Zealand were postponed this month as competitors refused to travel to India due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The two matches were scheduled to take place on May 29 and 30 in Bhubaneswar.
“Due to the second wave of Coronavirus in India, the New Zealand men’s hockey team has refused to travel to Odisha to play in professional league matches against India,” a source told IANS on Monday.
The matches are also reported to have helped India prepare for the Olympics, which is scheduled to begin on July 23 in Tokyo.
Previously, the Indian men’s team’s European tour of playing a series of professional league matches was postponed, again due to the pandemic.
The British League’s stoppage in London on May 8 and 9 has been postponed as Indian visas were denied due to an increase in coronavirus cases in India. The Spanish League suspension in Valencia on May 15 and 16 was also postponed because the team was unable to travel to Spain.
Germany, too, has imposed restrictions on Indian travelers and the hockey team was unable to play matches on May 22 and 23 in Hamburg.
India participated last month in the Argentina Professional League match. Since then, the core group of 33 players have trained at the Indian Sports Authority Training Center in Bengaluru.
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