The road ahead for India men’s and women’s hockey teams were discussed among other topics in the special congress held via video conference on Wednesday, Hockey India (HI) said in a statement.

HI engaged it’s executive board members and state member units in discussions to pave the way forward and re-start the sport at state and national level following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Congress was also joined by special invitee Narinder Batra, President, Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

While Hockey India high performance director David John highlighted the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on preparations for the Tokyo Olympics Games and expressed that a detailed SOP has been submitted to SAI in April for all national athletes, a calendar of matches and tournaments has been planned for all four teams (senior and junior) for 2021.

Currently, the senior men’s team have 10 FIH Hockey Pro League matches to be played to fulfill their commitments from the 2020 season. Apart from two matches versus New Zealand in India, the remaining 8 matches are scheduled to be played in Germany, Great Britain, Argentina and Spain.

The Indian women’s team will need to finalise overseas tours to countries that that have relaxed their travel restrictions and provide a high level of competition such as Netherlands, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. It would be ideal for the team to play around 10 – 14 competitive matches against above opposition prior to Tokyo Games.

The Indian teams will play the Asian Champions Trophy organised by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) prior to the Olympics depending on the situation to gain exposure.

The national camps and international exposures for the teams has been scheduled according to FIH calendar and will be submitted in the ACTC for 2020/21 once FIH and AHF finalise their dates.

“The main agenda for today was to discuss the Indian teams preparations for the Olympics in 2021 and how best we can emerge from the Covid-19 situation which has impacted the sport quite severely,” said Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, President, Hockey India.

“We also had very detailed discussion on the restructured Hockey India National Championships in 2021 and have finalised the host venues for the tournaments,” he added.

It was announced that Hockey Maharashtra will host the 11th senior men’s nationals, while Uttar Pradesh will host 11th senior women’s nationals.

The 11th junior men’s national championship and the 11th sub junior men national championship will be hosted by Hockey Haryana while the 11th junior women’s nationals 2021 and 11th sub junior women’s nationals will be hosted by Hockey Jharkhand.

The special congress also saw detailed discussion on registration process for tournament officials and coaches on the Hockey India Member Unit Portal.