Hockey: Asian Champions Trophy postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic

The tournament was scheduled to be held in March this year.

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) postponed the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) for both men and women, "till the second half of the year" due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The already-deferred men's edition was supposed to be held in Dhaka from March 11 to 19, while the eves were set to lock horns in Donghae, South Korea from March 31 to April 6.

It was first slated to be held from November 17 to 27, 2020, while the women's was scheduled from June 14 to 21, 2020. But now talks are on so that the men's and women's tournaments can be held in September and October respectively.

“We had to arrive at this decision keeping in mind a number of factors but first and foremost was the safety, health and welfare of the players. AHF did not want to put athletes in any danger under these challenging circumstances,” AHF chief executive Tayyab Ikram told PTI.

“We have been in touch with all the participating nations, hosts as well as FIH over the past few months and while there are government restrictions and travel restrictions, another major factor to postpone the AHF’s most awaited event, was the challenges countries faced in holding national camps.”

The Indian women's hockey team for the upcoming tour of England. Image courtesy: Hockey India

He also added that the teams are not prepared enough to participate in a competition of this magnitude.

“Different scenarios emerged from different countries. While some countries have resumed training, some are in complete lockdown. They are uncertain when they will be able to open up and train. Holding the event when teams have not been able to prepare due to the COVID situation was another major concern for us at AHF as it is against the basic principle of equal opportunity.”

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has already been taken into confidence about the decision. Talks are on for a new slot to host the tournament.

“We are now in discussion with FIH to find the right window between the Olympics and Junior World Cup to host the ACT for both men and women.

“The threat of uneven circumstances and unfavourable conditions faced by the participating teams is another factor,” Ikram said.