No physical contact other than in normal play, training in "groups of maximum four to six people in an area of 40x20m" and mandatory usage of the Aarogya Setu app are among the measures listed out in Hockey India's Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) once training and competitions restart post the lockdown imposed to deal with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Here is the SOP for Hockey after lockdown
- Training in groups of maximum 4-6 people per area of 40x20m, this will create an environment with few people in big areas of play.
- Full pitch could be divided into 4 parts, and a maximum of 3-4 players could use each part with a minimum of 1-metre space between each player.
- The same set of 3-4 players should train together at all times to avoid any spread of infection if in case anyone is affected at some point.
- High-fives and fist bumps are prohibited and players will have to arrive at the training ground in their full kit so as to minimise the usage of changing rooms and bathrooms. They are expected to bring their own towels and water bottles.
- Between training efforts, maintain a distance of at least 1.5m (e.g. in the gym, pool, between sets or efforts). Any tasks that can be done at home, should be done at home (e.g. recovery sessions).
- Groundsmen are to carry out their preparations before the players and staff arrive at the field or after they leave only. All equipment that is used will be wiped down and sanitised at the end of training.
- HI also says in the SOP that 'all member units' staff and teams should download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones.
- Before leaving for the upcoming event, all players and staff must review their status on 'Aarogya Setu' and travel only when the app shows 'safe' or 'low risk' status."
- The senior men's and women's hockey team probables have been at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru throughout the lockdown which was imposed first on March 25 and has since been extended twice.
Hockey India finalises venues for new annual calendar
Hockey India, in the Special Congress meeting, engaged it's executive board members and state member units in valuable discussions to pave the way forward and re-start the sport at state and national level following the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
The Congress was also joined by special invitee Narinder Dhruv Batra, President, Indian Olympic Association.
Foreseeing the new social norms that could last up to 12-18 months, Hockey India proposed to update the Constitution with a provision to allow video conference meetings as official meetings with minutes to be signed by the chairman of the meeting.
Annual National Championship
In regard to hosting the restructured annual national championship next year, it was formally announced that Hockey Maharashtra will host the 11th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship 2021, while Uttar Pradesh Hockey will host 11th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2021.
The 11th Hockey India Junior Men National Championship 2021 and the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021 will be hosted by Hockey Haryana while the 11th Hockey India Junior Women National Championship 2021 and 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Women National Championship 2021 will be hosted by Hockey Jharkhand.
Impact of coronavirus on Tokyo Olympics preparation
Hockey India High-Performance Director David John highlighted the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on preparations for the Tokyo Olympics Games and expressed that a detailed SOP has been submitted to SAI in April 2020 for all national athletes, a calendar of matches and tournaments has been planned for all four teams (Senior and Junior) for 2021.
FIH Pro Hockey League
Currently, the Senior Men's team have 10 FIH Hockey Pro League matches to be played to fulfil their commitments from the 2020 season. Apart from two matches versus New Zealand in India, the remaining eight matches are scheduled to be played in Germany, Great Britain, Argentina and Spain.
The Indian Women's team will need to finalise overseas tours to countries that have relaxed their travel restrictions and provide a high level of competition such as Netherlands, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. It would be ideal for the team to play around 10 to 14 competitive matches against above opposition prior to Tokyo Olympics.
Hockey schedule before Tokyo Olympics
Depending on the situation, the Indian Men’s and Women's teams will play the Asian Champions Trophy organised by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) prior to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 that will provide exposure. The National Camps and International exposures for the Senior Men and Senior Women teams has been scheduled according to FIH Calendar and will be submitted in the ACTC for 2020/21 once FIH and AHF finalise their dates.