Hockey: The already-deferred Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) hockey tournaments for both men and women were on Friday postponed “till the second half of the year” by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The deferred men’s edition of the ACT was supposed to be held in Dhaka from March 11 to 19, while the women’s event was to be organised in Donghae, South Korea from March 31 to April 6.
Originally, both the tournaments were scheduled to be held last year but were postponed because of the deadly virus.
While the original dates of the men’s event was from November 17 to 27 last year, the women’s tournament was scheduled from June 14 to 21.
“We had to arrive at this decision keeping in mind a number of factors but first and foremost was the safety, health and welfare of the players. AHF did not want to put athletes in any danger under these challenging circumstances,” AHF chief executive Tayyab Ikram told PTI.
“We have been in touch with all the participating nations, hosts as well as FIH over the past few months and while there are government restrictions and travel restrictions, another major factor to postpone the AHF’s most awaited event, was the challenges countries faced in holding national camps.”
Ikram said they also had to factor in teams’ preparation, the lack of it in this case.
“Different scenarios emerged from different countries. While some countries have resumed training, some are in complete lockdown. They are uncertain when they will be able to open up and train.
“Holding the event when teams have not been able to prepare due to the COVID situation was another major concern for us at AHF as it is against the basic principle of equal opportunity,” he added.
He further said that the postponement of both the events has been approved by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and new dates, which are likely to be in September (for women)/October 2021 (for men), will be “finalised and communicated as soon as possible.”
“We are now in discussion with FIH to find the right window between the Olympics and Junior World Cup to host the ACT for both men and women.
“The threat of uneven circumstances and unfavourable conditions faced by the participating teams is another factor,” Ikram said.