‘Lockdown hampered our WC qualifying chances’

IMPHAL: The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown hampered our 2021 World Cup qualifying prospects, Indian junior women’s hockey team skipper Suman Devi Thoudam said on Thursday.
The Indian girls were hoping to book their FIH Junior Women’s World Cup ticket through the 2020 Women’s Junior Asia Cup, which was to be held in Kakamigahara, Japan, from April 6, but was cancelled because of the pandemic.
“We were in the National Coaching Camp since first week of March and we were very focused on performing well at the Junior Asia Cup which would have got us direct qualification into the FIH Junior World Cup 2021 to be held in South Africa. But the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown halted our preparations,” said Suman from her home.
“We had shaped up well as a team and with some good performances last year, we were quite confident of a good show in the Junior Asia Cup in Japan.”
While all her teammates left for home after the junior camp ended on March 19, Suman decided to stay back at the SAI centre in Bengaluru with the senior sides and was stuck there for more than two and half months because of the nationwide lockdown.


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