The junior hockey team of Pakistan arrived in India on Saturday to participate in the Junior Hockey World Cup being held in Bhubaneswar from November 24 to December 5, the Pakistan high commission said.
Aftab Hasan Khan, the Charge d’ Affaires at the high commission extended a warm welcome to the hockey team, it said in a statement. It said a senior diplomat of the high commission received the members of the team at the Indira Gandhi International airport. The visit of the Pakistani hockey team to India comes days after New Delhi decided to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
Junior Hockey World Cup !
Pakistan Jr Hockey Team reach Bhubaneswar, will play Practice match against Chile tomorrow.#Hockey #JuniorHockeyWorldCup2021
— Zeeshan Qayyum (@XeeshanQayyum) November 20, 2021
“Aftab Hasan Khan, the Charge d’ Affaires, high commission for Pakistan extended a warm welcome to Pakistan’s junior hockey team visiting India to participate in Junior Hockey World Cup,” the Pakistan high commission said.
It said the Charge d’ Affaires also hosted a lunch in honour of the hockey team at the high commission’s Chancery building.
“Speaking on the occasion, the Charge d’ Affaires extended his best wishes to 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 hoped that the players will perform with great spirit and the best of their abilities, it said.
“The head coach, members of the team management and the players appreciated Pakistan High Commission’s hospitality during transit in Delhi on their way to Bhubaneswar. They are fully prepared and in high spirits to give their best during the matches,” the high commission said.
? | Stills from the airport as we welcome the Pakistani contingent to Bhubaneswar for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2021 ?#IndiaKaGame #RisingStars #JWC2021
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) November 20, 2021
The ties between the two countries significantly nosedived after India announced in August 2019 its decision to withdraw the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two union territories.
Pakistan has been making concerted efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue.
India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.
India has been maintaining that the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.
The players and officials coming to the state capital for the upcoming junior men’s hockey world cup are subjected to RT-PCR tests every 72 hours, a senior sports department official said on Saturday.
On an average 500 tests are being conducted and same day reports are being generated by ICMR’s Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar.
“Every 72 hours, each and every person including players, officials, hotel staff and associates involved with the event are retested,” said R Vineel Krishna, Odisha’s sports and youth service secretary.
The tournament is scheduled to be held here November 24 to December 5. Stating that the state administration was doing everything possible to prepare for the smooth conduct of the games, Krishna said: “We are working towards making this international sporting event, safe, secured and memorable for the junior hockey players who have come here with big dreams.”
Given the myriad challenges posed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event officials led by the organising committee have tried to put together a flawless system of testing and tracking for an incident-free event, he said.
All Covid safety protocols followed for the Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2021 starting 24th November in Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
— Vineel Krishna (@rvineel_krishna) November 20, 2021
He said designated officials of the department personally oversee the entire functioning while also ensuring no one misses the cycle of 72 hours, he said, adding that testing, tracking and matching records is challenging. “We will ensure that this process is implemented smoothly in accordance with training and match schedules and as per the convenience. It shouldn’t be an overwhelming experience for the players,” the sports secretary said.
Testing were ramped up from November 15, when the international teams started arriving. A unit from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with one from Capital Hospital, are stationed for sample collection, at different hotels where players are accommodated.
In total 12 units have been deployed. Following arrival at airport the players are taken to their respective hotels where the testing team with PPE kit tests each and every arriving player and official. This apart, counter measures are also in place in case there is any incident reported. Bhubaneswar was among the first city to be 100 per cent vaccinated so there is some relief there, he said.
Several teams including India, Germany, Poland, Belgium, USA, Canada, South Africa, The Netherlands, have already arrived in Bhubaneswar ahead of the tournament, and few more will be arriving in the next couple of days, he said.
Get ready to witness the next Hockey stars ??
As we come closer to the start of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2021 in Bhubaneswar, The Wall @16Sreejesh has a message for you ?@FIH_Hockey @AMNSIndia @IndiaSports @sports_odisha @CMO_Odisha @Media_SAI
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) November 19, 2021
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 take part in the event. Hosts and defending champions India are grouped in Pool B along with Canada, France and Poland.
The other teams in the fray include Belgium, Malaysia, South Africa and Chile in Pool A; Netherlands, Spain, Korea and United States grouped in Pool C, while Germany, Argentina, Pakistan and Egypt are in Pool D.
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