Indian Women's Hockey Team to tour Argentina to play eight matches
New Delhi, December 30, 2020
A 25-member Indian women hockey squad will leave for Argentina on January 3 for their first tour of the Olympic year.
The squad, which is slated to play eight matches against the host nation starting from January 17, will be accompanied by a seven-member support staff team.
India will play two matches against Junior Argentina team on January 18 and 20. The next two fixtures are against Argentina B on January 23 and 25, followed by four matches against the Argentina senior team on January 27, January 29, January 31 and February 1.
All the matches will be played at one venue -- Cenard, Buenos Aires.
This is the first team preparing for the Olympic Games that has received government sanction to travel for an international assignment after the pandemic hit and halted all national and international competitions around the world abruptly.
Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne was of the view that the tour would give the players much-needed exposure. “I am happy that after one year we are able to play international matches. This tour will give us information for the next steps to be made in our preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games. I want to thank Hockey India for their efforts to make this possible and thank SAI for their quick response," he said.
“This tour has been planned very carefully keeping in mind the safety of players and we are truly grateful to Hockey India and SAI for ensuring we resume competition despite the ongoing pandemic," said Captain Rani Rampaul.
"We have a little over 200 days before we arrive in Tokyo for the Olympic Games in July and it was very important to play matches against a strong team like Argentina. The team is really excited for this opportunity and has been keenly looking forward to this tour. This exposure will make us understand the level we are at after nearly a five-month long National Coaching Camp in Bengaluru,” she added.
The women's team last participated in an international tour in January 2020 when they travelled to New Zealand for a five-match series. The Indian Women's Team played both the New Zealand and Great Britain women in the 5-match series and were victorious in 3 of the 5 matches that they played.
According to a release, over the past months, Hockey India has been planning, in coordination with a number of countries, to ensure international competitions for the Indian teams as part of their preparations for the Olympics and other major international tournaments in 2021.
Hockey India and the host National Association have planned to create a bio bubble in Argentina for both the teams. The visitors will be staying in a hotel where a provision to have separate rooms/halls for the team for all the meals, team meetings, sessions, etc have been made.
The accommodation will be on twin-sharing basis, where the room sharing partners will remain the same throughout the tour. They will also be same even in case of the seating arrangement in the team coach/bus. This has been planned carefully keeping in mind all necessary requirements.
The team members will not be moving out of the bubble and meeting any others as even while travelling to the match/training venue the team will be travelling in a dedicated transport which will only take upto 80% capacity. The local resources along with the team such as team bus/coach, drivers, support staff will all remain the same throughout the tour to avoid any lapses in any way possible. There will be no movement for members to move out of the hotel except for training and match days.
The whole contingent will undergo a Covid-19 RT-PCR Test 72 hours prior to their departure from New Delhi. Though there is no requirement of quarantine upon arrival in Argentina, the team will still be following all safety and health measures as advised by the Governments of India and Argentina.