New Delhi: The Indian women's hockey team's upcoming tour of China has been cancelled due to deadly coronavirus outbreak, leaving Hockey India scrambling to find a new opponent.
The team was supposed to be in China from March 14 to 25 as part of their preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, we are not going to China," captain Rani Rampal told IANS on Friday. "So now our coaches are planning something with Hockey India to play another team in its place."
The development comes as the toll in China due to the fast-spreading virus increased to 636, with 31,161 confirmed cases, China's National Health Commission said on Friday morning.
"We will get to know whenever we get to play against a country. For now, we have a one week break after which we have a training camp of four weeks," the Indian captain added.
"Hockey India are hoping to finalise an opponent by the end of next week," said CEO Elena Norman. "We are in talks with a few federations. I can't say anything more at the moment unless we get a decisive answer from them. We are hoping we will get that by the end of next week," she said.
With Hockey India deciding not to enter the team in the FIH Hockey Women's Pro League, they have to make do with the test series against teams that are not involved in the competition.