Despite extreme heat, Indian teams begin with victories
On a day when the Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee (TOCOG) and the international hockey federation (FIH) implemented the ‘heat wave policy’ for morning matches, the Indian men’s and women’s teams — used to playing in soaring temperature in the country — made short-work of Malaysia and hosts Japan, respectively to open their campaign in the Ready Steady Tokyo Hockey Olympic test event in style on Saturday.
There have been huge concerns over the extreme heat athletes are likely to encounter at the 2020 Olympic Games and Tokyo seemed to have adequate measures in place for the hockey test event. But the Indian men’s team had little trouble beating Malaysia 6-0 with Mandeep Singh and Gursahibjit Singh scoring a brace each, while the women’s team overcame a spirited challenge from Japan 2-1, with Gurjit Kaur scoring two goals off penalty corners.
On Saturday, the temperatures inside the Oi Hockey Stadium in Tokyo touched 37 degrees Celsius, forcing the event organisers to implement ‘heat countermeasures’ such as water mist sprays, large fans on the field and extra water breaks. The players were also allowed to sit in shaded areas during water breaks.
Responding to a query on email, an FIH spokesperson said, “The FIH warm-weather policy was implemented in the morning games only. Water mist sprays and fans were joint measures put in place by FIH and TOCOG.”
The India women’s team captain Rani Rampal was quoted as saying that the, “Weather was rather hot. I think every player was getting tired very quickly, but in India we are used to it. In India it gets really hot these days. Sometimes it is difficult, but this is sport, we can’t change it.”
The 2020 Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike, who officially inaugurated the venue on Saturday, said he was satisfied with the heat countermeasures.
“Today we used some mists; various ways of misting...we also have water hoses normally used for agriculture. So, we are trying varieties of ways of cooling,” said Koike. “We will use the best methods at Tokyo 2020. To test those countermeasures, I think the test events are very important,” she added.
Earlier, in the men’s match, apart from Mandeep and Gursahibjit’s brace, Gurinder Singh and SV Sunil added to Malaysia’s misery.