Hockey post COVID-19: Players asked to carry own towels & bottles

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Hockey India.

NEW DELHI: No physical contact other than in normal play, training in “groups of maximum four to six people in an area of 40x20m” and mandatory usage of the Aarogya Setu app are among the measures listed out in Hockey India’s Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) once training and competitions restart post the lockdown imposed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Training in groups of maximum 4-6 people per area of 40x20m, this will create an environment with few people in big areas of play,” says Hockey India in its 20-page SOP and guidelines to associations.

“Full pitch could be divided into 4 parts, and a maximum of 3-4 players could use each part with a minimum of 1 meter space between each player. The same set of 3-4 players should train together at all times to avoid any spread of infection if in case any one is affected at some point.”

High-fives and fist bumps are prohibited and players will have to arrive at the training ground in their full kit so as to minimise the usage of changing rooms and bathrooms. They are expected to bring their own towels and water bottles.

“Between training efforts, maintain a distance of at least 1.5m (e.g. in the gym, pool, between sets or efforts). Any tasks that can be done at home, should be done at home (e.g. recovery sessions),” says HI. Groundsmen are to carry out their preparations before the players and staff arrive at the field or after they leave only. All equipment that is used will be wiped down and sanitised at the end of training.

HI also says in the SOP that ‘all member units’ staff and teams should download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones. “Before leaving for the upcoming event, all players and staff must review their status on ‘Aarogya Setu’ and travel only when the app shows ‘safe’ or ‘low risk’ status.”

The senior men’s and women’s hockey team probables have been at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru throughout the lockdown which was imposed first on March 25 and has since been extended twice.

In a Special Congress Meeting that was held on Wednesday, the federation proposed that players continue their preparations for the postponed Tokyo Olympics from July to the end of 2020. It also finalised venues for the restructured national calendar during the meeting.