There’s bad news from the Indian camp. The women’s hockey team, which was runners-up at the last edition of the Commonwealth Games, and won the title at Manchester in 2002, has been struck by eye flu. Nearly half the team is down with the infection.
It started with skipper Surinder Kaur getting infected during the camp at National Institute of Sports, Patiala, last week. Soon after, Surinder's room-mate, Poonam, and video analyst, Nalini, got infected.
After checking into the Games Village on Saturday, three more members of the squad, Jasjeet Kaur, Joydeep and Kiran, have been struck.
“Eye flu is causing a big problem. It started with one player and now it’s spreading. We’ve got the girls medicated and are hoping it doesn't affect more girls. Otherwise we will be in big trouble,” said a member of the support staff.
“After Surinder got infected during the Patiala camp, we sent her home. She is back to training and Nalini has also recovered. But Jasjeet, Joydeep and Kiran are still down. We are in touch with doctors in the Village and hopefully they will recover in the next two-three days,” he added. Jasjeet is the penalty corner expert and Joydeep is a key member in defence and their absence will definitely affect the team's performance. “We are taking care that the girls with eye flu practice separately so that we don't get fresh cases,” said a team official.
Despite the trying times, coaches, Sandeep Somesh and Pritam Siwach, are confident that the team, like in the previous editions, will be ready to give its best for the country.
No practice match
While other nations will play a few practice matches, the women's team will not get any such opportunity before the Games. “It would have been better had we played a couple of matches. After returning from the World Cup in Argentina we haven't played a match,” said a team member.