BHUBANESWAR: The junior women’s World Cup, scheduled to be held in South Africa from December 5, has been put on hold by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The development comes after the emergence of a new coronavirus variant (B.1.1.529).
The variant, according to the scientific community, is cause for concern because of the way it has mutated. Considering the variant has made its presence felt in South Africa over the last few days, the FIH, in a press release, said: “(...) will not happen under these circumstances.” The situation rapidly evolved on Friday after several governments, including the UK, announced fresh travel restrictions following a rise in new infections linked to the variant.
FIH CEO, Thierry Weil, said it isn’t possible to maintain this event as planned. “The safety of everyone involved in the FIH events is an absolute priority,” he said. “Additionally, many countries, including some of the participating teams, have now strongly increased their travel restrictions with South Africa, including halting flights.
“Therefore, it simply isn’t possible to maintain this event as planned. This is hugely disappointing. An FIH Junior World Cup is so important for the development of young players. Also, it was the first time that an FIH World Cup was due to take place on African soil. On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank all teams for their understanding.” he added.
“FIH will keep monitoring the situation and make a decision about the potential staging of the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup as soon as it will be possible to do so,” the release added.
Wrestling meets in doubt.
The new variant might lead to postponement or cancellation of the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships scheduled in Pretoria from December 3 to 5. As many as 60 wrestlers from the country are expected to take part in the event. However, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) says the event is on with no official word from the organisers yet. “The event is on and our first batch of participants comprising Greco-Roman wrestlers will leave on November 30,” Vinod Tomar, WFI’s assistant secretary, told this daily.
(Inputs from Firoz Mirza in Chennai)