Tuesday, June 18, 2024

India hockey teams could pull out of Commonwealth Games

Narinder Batra’s views on the Commonwealth Games were given a fresh twist on Friday when it was revealed that India’s hockey teams could pull out of Birmingham 2022 in favour of the Asian Games.

The Asian Games act as a Paris 2024 Olympic qualifer and with the Commonwealth Games finishing just over a month before the event, Batra raised the spectre of India being an unlikely participant in Birmingham.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games finish on August 8, while the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China start on September 10. And Batra, the Indian Olympic Association president and current FIH chief, admitted that the priority was for India to prepare properly for the Asian Games.

“Based on my preliminary discussions with Hockey India, it seems doubtful as of now whether Indian men and women hockey team’s will participate in Commonwealth Games 2022,” he said in a statement to India media.

“Hockey India will not like its hockey athletes to peak 35 days before the Asian Games 2022 and would like the athletes to peak at the right time i.e. during the Asian Games 2022.

“The Commonwealth Games in 2022 are just 35 days before the Asian Games in China and in hockey the winners of Asian Games directly qualify for 2024 Paris Olympics. Hence, winning gold medal in the Asian Games is a must for both men & women’s hockey teams.”

India and Pakistan rarely compete against each other

Any decision to pull out will be a damaging blow for the Games, given that Pakistan will likely play in the Games and the two hockey nations rarely pitted against each other.

Two years ago, Batra told the Indian Express that the Commonwealth Games were a “waste of time and money” following the decision to drop shooting from the 2022 programme.

“These Games have no standard,” he said. “We win 70 medals, 100 medals at the Commonwealth Games while at the Olympics, we get stuck at two [medals at the Rio Olympics].

“That means the level of competition isn’t high at the Commonwealth Games. It’s not a ranking tournament either. So why waste time?”

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  1. That will be so disappointing given the excitement the Indian teams provided at Tokyo. Would be particularly good to see the women’s team who hopefully have inspired many girls to take up hockey and other sports.

  2. Some long term solution will be needed for this. Maybe Commonwealth Games need not happen in the same year as Asian Games. For all nations qualification for Olympics will always be a priority.


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