Hockey Men’s Junior WC: Covid testing, tracking in full swing

Aiming to make Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup safe, secured and memorable for the players, the Odisha government is conducting Covid-19 tests of all players and officials participating in the sporting event.

“Despite the pandemic challenges the players should be able to train and play with full confidence and pride and return with a good experience. 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,” said Vineel Krishna, Sports Secretary of Odisha government.

Given the myriad challenges posed due to 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, Krishna said.

On an average 500 tests are being conducted and same day reports are being generated by Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), a unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Every 72 hours each and every person including players, officials, hotel staff and associates involved with the event are retested.

Designated officials of Sports and Youth Services department of Odisha personally oversee the entire functioning while also ensuring no one misses the cycle of 72 hours, he said.

“Testing and tracking and matching records is challenging and our officials are ensuring 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,” said the Sports secretary.

For this event, the focus is on safety and since the arrival of the Indian junior team on November 8, testing has been conducted for the players and officials and were ramped up from November 15 as the international teams started arriving.

A unit from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation 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, officials said.

Following arrival at the airport, the players are taken to their respective hotels where the testing teams with PPE kits test each and every arriving player and official.

These RT-PCR tests are conducted following all Covid guidelines. The players have been very accommodating of the Covid guidelines and norms, the officials said.

This is the first international event in the country, after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Several teams including India, Germany, Poland, Belgium, USA, Canada, South Africa, The Netherlands and Pakistan have arrived in Bhubaneswar ahead of the games, and few more will be in the city in the next couple of days.