Both Indian men’s and women’s hockey team is expected to withdraw from next year’s Commonwealth games in Birmingham, Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra said on Friday. The decision comes in order to keep the national teams fresh so they can hit the peak form during the Asian Games, which is an Olympic qualifier tournament for Paris 2024. Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are scheduled in 2022 with CWG taking place from 28th July to 8 August 2022, while Asiad is scheduled from 10-25 September.
Batra said he has conveyed the word to Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Sandip Pradhan during a formal meeting on Friday.
“Based on my preliminary discussions with Hockey India, it seems doubtful as of now whether Indian men and women hockey teams will participate in Commonwealth Games 2022,” Batra, a former Hockey India President said.
“Hockey India will not like its hockey athletes to peak 35 days before the Asian Games 2022 and would like the athletes to peak at the right time i.e. during the Asian Games 2022. The Commonwealth Games in 2022 are just 35 days before the Asian Games in China and in hockey, the winners of Asian Games directly qualify for 2024 Paris Olympics. Hence, winning gold medal in the Asian Games is a must for both men & women’s hockey teams,” he added.
Indian men’s hockey team suffered a shocking loss to Malaysia in the semi finals of 2018 Asian Games in penalty shootout to be content with a bronze after they defeated Pakistan and had to fight it out for a place in the Olympics thereafter.
The women’s team went one step better than the men’s and played in the finals where they suffered a loss to Japan 2-1 and has to battle it out in the Olympic qualifiers.