The extended break for Indian hockey players will finally end over the weekend. The men and women’s probables have been asked to report to the SAI Centre in Bengaluru by Monday (August 3).
The 58-odd members of the core group — 33 men and 24 women — had started dispersing on June 18 in batches after being stuck for more than 100 days at the Sports Authority of India centre. They were initially supposed to return on July 19 but with increasing cases of COVID-19 and lockdown in the city, the break had been extended.
“We had been told to be prepared for reporting any time after July 23 but there was no confirmation. Now we have got the official letter from SAI and we have to report by August 3 but actual camp will only start later because of safety protocols,” players said. With the federations de-recognised, arrangements and notifications are being done directly by SAI with the players making their own respective arrangements for travel.
Actual training, however, will only begin later with the players and returning staff required to be in mandatory 14-day quarantine. Among the staff members, women’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne and analytical coach Janneke Schopman are also expected to return on Sunday with Marijne tweeting late on Thursday night that he was waiting for a copy of his negative COVID test report before embarking for India.
The men’s coaches had stayed back at SAI along with four players — three women and goalkeeper Suraj Karkera.