NEW DELHI: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra has backed Hockey India's decision to pull out from the Commonwealth Games 2022.
The Indian men's and women's hockey teams have decided to pull out of the Commonwealth Games 2022, which is set to be held next year from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham. The teams have put their full focus on the Asian Games 2022, which will be hosted in Hangzhou, China, from September 10 to 25.
The IOA President said the decision not to send teams to CWG was made by Hockey India and highlighted the fact that India will easily qualify for the Paris Games if they win the Asia Cup.
"For Hockey, if you win Asian Games you can qualify for the Olympics. If men's and women's teams don't win the gold medal here then they have to choose the Olympics qualifying route," Batra told ANI.
"32 days after CWG, Asian Games will be played and players also need rest at that time. So players will be without practice. And if Hockey India has thought that Olympics is more important than CWG, I will support their decision."
"The game of hockey drains you out, so we must not give stress to our players. We cannot expect them to peak twice within a month," he added.
Since the Asian Games is a continental qualification event for the Paris Olympics 2024, the Indian men's and women's hockey teams will need to be at their very best when they take part in the Asian Games in September 2022.
It is a priority for the teams to win the Gold medal at the Asian Games 2022, thus securing direct qualification for the Paris Olympic Games. This will allow the teams almost 2 years to fully prepare for the Olympics.
Batra also spoke about the IOA election which will be held soon and he said only 'sports' wins in the election. "In our IOA constitution, there is a provision to create ad-hoc bodies. In that body, one representative of IOA, one representative of state Olympics association and one from national federation along with the complainants will solve the issues," said Batra.
"There are some complaints in handball, fencing, kho kho from state Olympics federation so we will stop all these," he added.
Further speaking about plans to expand hockey, Batra said, "We are confident of starting Hockey India League by 2022 or 2023. Market sentiments are also down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league can only resume when team buyers have the money."