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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Dengue outbreak hits preparations ahead of Junior Hockey World Cup

It is learnt that up to 50 out of the 200-odd trainees, across different sports, at the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Southern Centre were down with fever and weakness in the last two weeks.

Written by Mihir Vasavda |
Updated: October 19, 2021 2:30:22 pm
Hockey sources, however, said the number of players who tested positive for dengue was close to a dozen. Pathik, though, denied that was the case (File)

The Indian junior men’s hockey team’s preparation for their World Cup, scheduled to begin next month, has had a setback after several players tested positive for dengue at the national camp in Bengaluru.

It is learnt that up to 50 out of the 200-odd trainees, across different sports, at the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Southern Centre were down with fever and weakness in the last two weeks. Of them, five sportspersons – four from the junior hockey team and one track and field athlete – tested positive for dengue, Bengaluru SAI’s head Ritu Pathik said. The track and field athlete had to be hospitalised as a ‘precautionary measure’ while the rest were treated inside the SAI campus itself.

“Because of heavy rainfall here, we have had around 40-50 trainees who have reported fever and weakness in the last two weeks. Out of them, five tested positive for dengue. They are all doing well now and we are taking all preventive measures, including fumigation,” Pathik told The Indian Express.

Hockey sources, however, said the number of players who tested positive for dengue was close to a dozen. Pathik, though, denied that was the case.

India’s junior team won the World Cup in 2016, the last time it was held. However, their preparations this time have been severely hit because of the pandemic and the dengue outbreak has only added to their problems.

The team was scheduled to leave for South Africa last week but the exposure trip has been put on hold for now. The tour would have given the team a chance to test itself ahead of the Junior World Cup, given that the players haven’t had a competitive fixture since the start of the pandemic.

Graham Reid, who was the coach of the senior Indian team that won its first Olympic medal in 41 years, is in charge of the junior side as well. He will be assisted by long-time junior team coach BJ Kariappa. The Junior World Cup is scheduled to begin in Bhubaneswar on November 24, in the absence of teams like Australia, England, and New Zealand who have pulled out citing Covid-19-related concerns.

Hockey India did not respond when asked about the number of players who have been unwell as well as the status of the tour to South Africa.

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