Indian hockey team have pulled out of next year's Birmingham Commonwealth Games, citing COVID-19 concerns and the UK's strict quarantine rules for travellers from the country.
Hockey India stated that there is only a 32-day window available between CWG Games and the Hangzhou Asian Games and they can't risk sending players to the UK which is still receiving lots of cases of COVID-19.
In the letter to IOA chief Narender Batra, HI President Gyanendro Ningombam stated that the strict quarantine measures were one of the reasons behind the withdrawal.
“It is pertinent to mention that due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, England have issued guidelines that 10 days quarantine is required for Indian arrivals in England, even for those who are fully vaccinated, since unfortunately the Indian vaccinations are not yet recognised by the English government.
“Such discriminatory restrictions were not imposed on Indian athletes and officials during the recent Tokyo Olympic Games and this 10 days quarantine requirement for vaccinated sports persons will affect their performances. We feel these restrictions are biased against India and term it as very unfortunate,” Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam wrote in his letter addressed to IOA Chief Narinder Batra.
Notably, The Asian Games are a direct qualification event for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The winner of the gold medal will book their berth in the Olympics.