Watch: Pakistan hockey team reaches India to participate in Junior World Cup

Pakistan’s junior hockey team arrived in India on Saturday to participate in the Junior Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 24 to December 5, the Pakistan High Commission said.

It said in a statement, the in-charge d’affairs at the High Commission Aftab Hasan Khan extended a warm welcome to the hockey team. It said a senior diplomat of the High Commission received the team members at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The Pakistan hockey team’s visit to India comes days after New Delhi decided to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.

“Aftab Hasan Khan, In-charge d’ Affairs, High Commission for Pakistan warmly welcomed the Pakistan Junior Hockey team visiting India to participate in the Junior Hockey World Cup,” Pakistan High Commission said.

It said that the Charge d’Affaires also hosted a lunch in honor of the hockey team at the Chancery Bhawan of the High Commission.

“Speaking on the occasion, the Charge d’Affaires extended best wishes to the Pakistan Junior Hockey Team for their success during the Hockey World Cup,” the High Commission said.

Stating that hockey is the national sport of Pakistan, he expressed hope that the players will show great spirit and perform to the best of their abilities.

“The head coach, team management members and players appreciated the hospitality of the Pakistan High Commission during the transit in Delhi on the way to Bhubaneshwar. They are fully prepared and enthusiastic to give their best during the matches.”

Relations between the two countries declined significantly in August 2019 after India announced its decision to withdraw the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two union territories.

Pakistan is making constant efforts to internationalize the Kashmir issue.

India has told Pakistan that it wants normal neighborly relations with Islamabad in an environment free from terror, hostility and violence.

India has been saying that the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and enmity.

Junior Hockey World Cup: COVID-19 test of players, officials every 72 hours

A senior sports department official said on Saturday that players and officials visiting the state capital for the upcoming Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup are subjected to RT-PCR tests every 72 hours.

On an average 500 tests are being conducted and the report is being prepared by ICMR’s Regional Medical Research Center (RMRC), Bhubaneswar on the same day.

Odisha’s Sports and Youth Services Secretary R Vinil Krishna said, “Every 72 hours players, officials, hotel staff and everyone involved in the event are re-tested.”

The tournament is scheduled to be held here from November 24 to December 5. Stating that the state administration is making every effort to prepare for the smooth conduct of the Games, Krishna said: “We are working towards making this international sporting event a safe, secure one. And a memorable one for the junior hockey players who came here with big dreams.”

He said that in view of the myriad challenges posed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program officials led by the organizing committee tried to put together a flawless system of testing and tracking for an incident-free event Yes, he said.

The designated officers of the department personally oversee the entire functioning while also ensuring that no one misses the 72-hour cycle, he said, adding that testing, tracking and matching records is challenging. “We will ensure that this process is implemented smoothly as per the training and match schedule and as per convenience. It should not be an overwhelming experience for the players,” said the sports secretary.

Testing was intensified from 15 November, when international teams started arriving. A unit of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), along with one from Rajdhani Hospital, are deployed for sample collection at various hotels where the players are accommodated.

A total of 12 units have been deployed. After reaching the airport, the players are taken to their respective hotels, where the testing team with PPE kits tests each and every visiting player and official. In addition, counter measures are also taken in case any incident is reported. He said that since Bhubaneshwar is one of the first cities to get 100% vaccination, there has been some relief.

He said that many teams including India, Germany, Poland, Belgium, USA, Canada, South Africa, Netherlands have already reached Bhubaneswar before the tournament and some more teams will come in the next few days.

This is the third time that India is hosting the prestigious tournament, which took place in New Delhi in 2013 and in Lucknow in 2016. A total of sixteen nations will participate in this event. Hosts and defending champions India are placed in Pool B along with Canada, France and Poland.

Other teams in Pool A include Belgium, Malaysia, South Africa and Chile; The Netherlands, Spain, Korea and the United States have been placed in Pool C, while Germany, Argentina, Pakistan and Egypt have been placed in Pool D.

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