As the sporting world looks to resume regular duties in the current pandemic era, hockey is one of the sports which happens to restart its campaigns. Meanwhile, the Indian women team is all set to resume its duties in nearly a year, as it would travel to Argentina for a tour, come January next year.

As per an update from Hockey India (HI), the tour would be held from January 17. The team is scheduled to leave for the Latin American country on January 3 from New Delhi, where they would be playing eight matches. The contingent would have 25 players and seven support staffs.

It would be the contingent’s first assignment since January this year when they had travelled to New Zealand. The side took on the host and Great Britain in a five-match series, winning three of it. The Argentina tour would also mark the upcoming Tokyo Olympics preparation, set to be held in July 2021.

India coach, Sjoerd Marijne, said, “I am happy that after one year we are able to play international matches. This tour will give us information for the next step 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.”

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HI also explained the bio-bubble sphere, where the team would be placed during its tenure in Argentina. According to the release, “The Indian Women’s Team 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. The accommodation will be on a twin-sharing basis. The room-sharing partners will remain the same throughout the tour, which will also be the same even if the team coach/bus seating arrangement has been planned carefully, keeping in mind all requirements.

The team members will not be moving out of the bubble and meeting any third-party source. Even while travelling to the match/training venue, the team will be travelling in a dedicated transport that will only take up to 80% capacity. The local resources, along with the team, e.g. 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 & match days.”

Team captain, Rani Rampal, says, “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. We have a little over 200 days before we arrive in Tokyo for the Olympic Games in July 2021 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.”

Meanwhile, prior to the departure, the contingent would undergo a mandatory Covid-19 RT-PCR Test. Although the team would not undergo a quarantine period upon arrival in Argentina, the rules must strictly be adhered to.