Tokyo Olympics 2020: Indian hockey coaches Graham Reid, Sjoerd Marijne thankful for 'clarity' over new dates
Graham Reid, chief coach of the Indian men's team, and Sjoerd Marijne, chief coach of the Indian women's team, welcomed the new schedule
Indian men's hockey team coach Graham Reid on Monday said the announcement of new dates for the Tokyo Olympics has given them clarity in chalking out a fresh action plan for the next 15 months.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which had postponed the Tokyo Games last week due to the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 pandemic, on Monday announced that the mega event will now run from 23 July to 8 August, 2021.
"It's great to get some clarity about the new starting date for the Tokyo Olympics," Reid said.
"This allows us to begin the planning process to be ready for July next year. In the meantime, we are looking forward to getting through this current tough period and hope to be back out on the training field as soon as possible."
Sjoerd Marijne, chief coach of the Indian women's team, too welcomed the new schedule.
"It's good we have certainty when the Olympics will be held and we can work towards that. We are all in the same campus and available for each other in these hard times, a new date for the Olympics is good news for all of us," Marijne said.
"But for now, we are living by the day, staying strong mentally and physically and wait eagerly to get back to our normal routine. We are prepared to hit the reset button."
Both the Indian men and women's team core group is currently based out of Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru.
Hockey India president Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad also said that the dates have brought clarity and the two teams will now look to restart their training as soon as the situation surrounding the COVID-19 improves.
"We will be working closely with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Ministry, Youth Affairs & Sports and Sports Authority of India in this next 15 months to ensure both our teams have the best resources to achieve success at the Olympics," said Ahmad.
All hockey activities are currently suspended across the globe due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far killed nearly 35,000.
India are placed in pool A along with England, Canada, Wales, and Ghana and will begin their campaign on 29 July against Ghana.
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India will play England, China, and New Zealand who are pooled alongside them in group B in the league stage.
Hockey India announced a full-strength squad instead of a second-string side since the Asian Games were postponed to next year.