NEW DELHI: The national camps for Indian men's and women's hockey teams will not resume as planned on July 19 at Bengaluru SAI Centre with the rising COVID-19 case count forcing the city into a complete seven-day lockdown.
The grave situation in the southern metropolis has left the Sports Authority of India (SAI) with no choice but to defer its plans.
Enjoying a break at their respective native places after being confined to their rooms at the SAI Centre for two months due to the nationwide lockdown, the players had been expected to return to base by July 19.
A SAI source in Bengaluru, however, confirmed to PTI that there is no way the national camps can resume on the earlier earmarked date under the current circumstances.
"We didn't get any such instruction till now about resumption of hockey camps.
On June 18, we were just being asked to allow the players to leave for their homes but no intimation has been given to us on resumption of camps," the source said.
"Frankly speaking, it is impossible to resume camps now because Bengaluru is under complete lockdown till July 22. The cases are increasing everyday and there is a possibility that the lockdown would be extended till the end of this month." Although the SAI headquarters here is yet to take a formal decision on the matter, Hockey India's de-recognition by the Sports Ministry, along with 53 other National Sports Federations (NSFs), as per the Delhi High Court's order, has made the situation complex.
"We can't make any comment on national camps or anything as we are de-recognised by the ministry now," a HI official said.
A national team player too confirmed that they are yet to get any intimation from either HI or SAI about resumption of camps.
"We haven't heard anything from anyone about resumption of camps. We were told that we will be intimated about resumption of camps and also inform about our travel arrangements, but we haven't got anything," the player said.
"Like all, we too are living in uncertainty and are just hoping that things become normal soon." Only men's team chief coach Graham Reid and men and women teams' scientific advisors, Robin Arkell and Wayne Lombard, are currently staying at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru.
It has been learnt that women's team chief coach Sjoerd Marijne and analytical coach Janneke Schopman, both of whom flew to their homes in the Netherlands last month, have deferred their travel plans and are expected to arrive here next month.
Men's team analytical coach Chris Ciriello, too, has gone back to his home in Australia.