Hockey India (HI) on Wednesday announced that both men’s and women’s core probables groups returned to training in a ‘systematic and phased’ manner at the Bengaluru campus of the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

They also stated that both SAI Bangalore and the players have maintained all necessary coronavirus guidelines put forward by the government.

“Since the players are returning to the pitch after a gap of two months, they will begin with limited hours and stick to basic sports activities in the initial phase to avoid any possibility of injury,” Hockey India said in its statement.

“While players of both teams are upbeat on the new situation, the coaching staff has meticulously designed the daily schedule with a special focus on giving players enough time to adjust to the new norms.”

HI, recently, had recommended the name of women’s team captain Rani Rampal for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award while Vandana Katariya, Monika and Harmanpreet Singh were nominated for the Arjuna Award.

Rani led the team to historic victories in the Women’s Asia Cup in 2017, silver at the 2018 Asian Games, and played a critical role in the Olympic Qualifiers in 2019 by scoring the deciding goal that helped in India’s qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

In this period, the Indian eves also climbed to a career-best world ranking of No.9. First from India to be named as the World Games Athlete of The Year 2019, Rani has also been the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2016 and the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill and the sporting arena is no exception. Most of the high profile tournaments including the Tokyo Olympics 2020 stand postponed.

Even the biggest cricketing spectacle on the planet, the Indian Premier League (IPL), stands suspended indefinitely owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, Bundesliga became the first high-profile sporting event to resume after a 65 day period with almost no sporting activity.

A few cricketing boards around the world have only recently granted permission to their players to resume training.

The move to restart sporting leagues and tournaments come after governments are beginning to realise that the coronavirus is here to stay for quite some time and sports among other businesses will need to find a way to co-exist with it.

The virus has already infected more than 6 million people around the world while claiming over 3.6 lakh lives. There is still no sure shot treatment of the disease and social-distancing, self-isolation and maintenance of basic hand hygiene remain the only potent weapons of protecting oneself from contracting the infection.

(With inputs from IANS)