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COVID-19 Impact -- Hockey players return to the turf after months

In accordance with the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) recent guidelines, hockey players in Maharashtra have resumed sports activities keeping in mind the detailed SOP and guidelines provided by Hockey India. The detailed SOPs and guidelines were shared with all the State Member Units as early as in April 2020 with the intent to be well prepared and ready for a systematic rollout.

In the state of Maharashtra, 150 players have resumed limited sports activities. The players, who are above the age of 17, are slowly finding their groove on the field after being away from the pitch for many months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The players and the Coaches of the State Member Unit, who are currently building towards their next domestic tournament - District League matches, are following all the necessary protocols provided to them by Hockey India.

The State Member Units got a general idea about the key aspects to keep in mind while resuming sports activities during an interactive session with Chief Coaches of the national teams and experienced national players; PR Sreejesh and Savita in September. The Chief Coaches and players spoke about their first-hand experience of how the National Camp coaches and players are following the set protocol at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru since restarting sports activities on 19 August 2020.

"Our players have stayed away from the pitch for a long time and therefore it's fantastic to see them find their feet on the field. We are very thankful to Hockey India for foreseeing the need to devise a Standard of Procedure well in advance so that our players could get back to the game as soon as possible. We are ensuring that all the players and officials are following the guidelines properly. We hope that the players return to their regular form as soon as possible," said Mr. Manoj Bhore, General Secretary, Hockey Maharashtra.

Speaking on the resumption of sports activities in Maharashtra, Mr. Hitesh Jain, President Hockey Maharashtra said, "It's very important for athletes to stay in touch with their sport and therefore we are extremely happy that the players and officials have got the opportunity to slowly and steadily start sports activities in our state. I am also delighted to note that while the players were away from the pitch, we continued to build our infrastructure in the last few months. In July, the State of Maharashtra completed the replacement/relaying of a full-size hockey turf at the iconic Balewadi Stadium, Pune, which would help players of Hockey Maharashtra immensely. We hope that the players utilize this opportunity well to develop their game further."

Hockey India Media Release

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