🇨🇦 Field Hockey Canada : Junior Women's Hockey team awaits transit in South Africa
Photo Credit : Thedragflick

The Junior Women’s National Team travelled to Potchefstroom, South Africa for the Junior World Cup, scheduled for Dec 5-17, 2021. The team arrived last week to train on site and prepare for the event. Due to the discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in South Africa, the tournament has been postponed. Field Hockey Canada supports the FIH in their decision to postpone the event.

Due to the Omicron COVID-19 variant, most commercial flights in and out of the region have been suspended, leaving the athletes on the team and traveling staff without immediate transit home. The team is staying at the North-West University in Potchefstroom, where they are training on-field and spending time in their rooms, as they wait for the situation to resolve.

Susan Ahrens, CEO of Field Hockey Canada said the organization is in constant contact with the athletes, parents, and staff with one goal in mind, bring the players home as soon as possible.

“The health, safety and well-being of our athletes and staff is the first priority. I’m happy to report that everyone is healthy and safe and trying to make the best out of a challenging situation,” Ahrens said.

“We are working with government representatives and our travel partners at Boulevard Travel to find the fastest and safest way to bring the players home as soon as possible.”

At this moment (November 30, 6pm) – Field Hockey Canada through Boulevard Travel has secured flights home from Johannesburg on December 8, 2021. As of now, that’s the information we have, know things can change in either direction very quickly. Field Hockey is remaining optimistic that this will be the case and looking forward to traveling home.

Ahrens adds,

“We are in touch with the parent group and all partners to keep everyone abreast with the latest information. At this point, we are working with our staff management group on the ground and system and travel partners here in Canada as we coordinate a speedy and safe repatriation. Now that we have flights booked, Field Hockey Canada and our partners are still working hard on contingency plans and ensuring the safety, health and well-being of our athletes.”

After winning the Junior Pan American Championships in Chile in August, the Canadian Junior Women’s Team was going into the world cup as the top-ranked team from the Pan Americas. Although Ahrens fully backs the FIH in their decision, she also feels for a team that has put in so much time and work preparing for an amazing event.

“We’re heartbroken for the athletes. They have trained so hard for the opportunity to represent Canada at the world cup. They are an amazing group that has represented our nation so well. We are really proud of how they are handling such a challenging situation. We hope they will be able to take the field at a future date,” Ahrens said.

 

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