Lenise Marais would have been part of the SA Women’s Junior Hockey coaching team for the World Cup. Picture: Reg Caldecott
Lenise Marais would have been part of the SA Women’s Junior Hockey coaching team for the World Cup. Picture: Reg Caldecott

Junior Hockey World Cup in SA Covid-19 Omicron variant’s latest casualty

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published Nov 28, 2021

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Cape Town - The FIH (International Hockey Federation) Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021, scheduled for December in Potchefstroom, has been put on hold following the outbreak of a new Covid-19 Omicron variant in South Africa.

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The decision was taken following a meeting of FIH, the South African Hockey Association and the North-West University. The 10-day event would have been the first hockey World Cup on African soil and was scheduled to start next Sunday.

Frenchman Thierry Weil, the chief executive officer of FIH, health concerns were a major issue. He added it was possible the event could take place at a later date.

ALSO READ: International sport in southern Africa grinds to a halt over Covid

In a statement, he said: “The safety of everyone involved in the FIH events is an absolute priority.

“Additionally, many countries, including from some of the participating teams, have now strongly increased their travel restrictions with South Africa, including halting flights. Therefore, it simply isn’t possible to maintain this event as planned. This is hugely disappointing.

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“An FIH Junior World Cup is so important for the development of young players. Also, it was the first time that an FIH World Cup was due to take place on African soil.

“On behalf of FIH, I’d like to thank all teams for their understanding, as well as the local organisers for their great work and collaboration.”

Weil said the FIH would keep monitoring the situation. It will decide on the potential staging of the 2021 FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup as soon as it is possible to do so.

@Herman_Gibbs

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