Following a spectacular show at the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian hockey teams are likely to skip the upcoming Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The move is being considered to ensure that the teams hit peak form during the 2022 Asian Games, which is a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra shares that he has conveyed this to Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Sandip Pradhan during a formal meeting. The Birmingham CWG is scheduled to be held from July 28 to August 8, while the Asian Games will be hosted by Hangzhou, China from September 10 to 15.
“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 said in a statement.
“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 the Asian Games directly qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Hence, winning gold medal in the Asian Games is a must for both men & women’s hockey teams,” he added.
Indian hockey teams’ withdrawal to hit the nation’s CWG medal propsects
India was represented by a 216 member contingent in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where the country finished third in the standings. The Asian nation put up a dominant show as it bagged 66 medals, including 26 gold, 20 silver and as many bronze medals.
But the withdrawal of the hockey teams and with shooting and archery dropped from the Birmingham Games, the strength of the contingent, as well as the medal bounty, is set to take a serious hit. While the hockey team is yet to decide on their participation, the shooting and archery events that were set to take place in Chandigarh were called off due to the COVID-19 threat.
“The size of Indian contingent to Commonwealth Games 2022 will be much less than which went in 2018 as of now 36 hockey athletes, plus sports not included in 2022, i.e. approximately 18 shooting athletes and approximately 8 athletes from archery i.e. a total of 62 athletes may be less from 2018 Contingent,” Batra said.
“And the medals tally will also be proportionately less for India in 2022 Commonwealth Games.“