Indian hockey teams begin outdoor training after three months

Quarantined at the SAI South Centre in Bengaluru during the lockdown, the hockey teams hit the turf with social-distancing norms in place.

By Naveen Peter ·

After being restricted within the confines of their respective rooms at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Bengaluru for almost three months, the Indian hockey teams hit the ground running - albeit respecting social distancing norms.

The training sessions over the past two days were largely different from what they were used to as the teams have been divided into two groups to ensure the number of athletes on the pitch didn’t exceed the prescribed number.

While one batch resumed training on the hockey turf, the others were engaged in various fitness drills.

With no full-fledged training possible because of the social-distancing protocols, the group of players on the turf indulged in some basic drills like passing and receiving. The pitch too was sprayed with disinfectants after a batch would walk out of the area.

“Since the players are returning to the pitch after a gap of two months, they will begin with limited hours and stick to basic sports activities in the initial phase to avoid any possibility of injury,” a statement released by Hockey India read.

“Players of both teams are upbeat on the new situation and the coaching staff has meticulously designed the daily schedule with special focus on giving players enough time to adjust to the new norms.”

Sticking to Standard Operation Procedure

While the coaches are largely used to being hands-on during the training, the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) meant that they too had to maintain a distance from the players and could only observe and instruct from a distance.

Though Hockey India is hoping that the teams will gradually push towards full-contact training in the near future, they have assured that it won’t be until SAI gives them a go-ahead for the same. 

Hockey India, in its SOP for the national teams which was submitted to the Sports ministry, had suggested full-contact training for the teams since they had been in quarantine inside the SAI South Centre ever since a lockdown was announced in the country. 

So far teams in Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium have already begun their outdoor training after their respective authorities granted them the permission almost a month ago.