PERTH, Australia (AP) – Australia’s traditionally strong Olympic field hockey team is having a tough time playing competitive matches ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, unlike dozens of other international sports which have been steadily delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Australian men’s and women’s teams will continue their FIH Pro League campaign this month, but all matches involving Australia, China and New Zealand have been postponed due to international travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
This means that the upcoming doubles holders between Australia and New Zealand scheduled for April 24 and 25 in Perth will not continue.
The two Australian teams were scheduled to travel to Europe for matches against Spain, the Netherlands and Germany in May, but those matches have also been postponed.
The delayed Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start on July 23. The Australian women’s team has won three Olympic gold medals, the men’s team one and both sides have won multiple podiums at the Olympics.
But the men’s Kookaburras and women’s Hockeyroos have not played an international match since March 7 last year.
“Kookaburras and Hockeyroos have shown phenomenal resilience and adaptability in continuing their preparations for Tokyo without an international match for more than a year,” said Hockey Australia chief executive Matt Favier on Thursday. “Ahead of the Olympics this is unprecedented and it is too risky to send a team to Europe so far from the Olympics.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and the possibility of playing internationally knowing how important they are to our national team. We hope they will have the opportunity to play at home again before they leave for Tokyo in July. “
Argentina won the men’s gold field hockey medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Britain took the women’s gold medal.
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