National hockey trainees itching for freedom

FREEDOM. That is what the national hockey trainees are hoping for soon.

They are eager to start training outdoors after more than six weeks at home.

Unfortunately, field hockey will not get its immediate freedom from the government under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

However, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC), headed by Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, are hoping to hand their players the freedom to train again.

The national body have come up with a proposal, titled ‘Project Hockey Restart’, which outlines a host of temporary changes to training protocols in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The proposal contains safety guidelines for players before, during and after training, and it will be presented to Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican today.

MHC’s guidelines, however, are not for matches and tournaments.

“Although hockey is not on the list of non-contact sports, which can restart activities from today, MHC have prepared guidelines to make it safe for training.

“We came up with it after consulting national coach Roelant Oltmans and our coaching committee.

“Although our players are training well on their own, they are feeling bored. They need to come out and play again.

“Our proposal to the Sports Ministry and the National Sports Council will outline ‘distancing’ guidelines. Hopefully, in a week or two, the minister will make a decision,” said Subahan.

Under MHC’s safety guidelines, trainees will have to pass a Covid-19 test before returning to training.

Social distancing of 1.5m will be in place; no shaking hands, only small group session will be conducted; and players will have to return to their homes within five minutes after training.

Hand santisers will be provided at the training venue and all equipment will be disinfected after each training session.

“It is an effort to make training safe. However, the Sports Ministry may come up with other guidelines,” Subahan added.

Oltmans, who is currently in the Netherlands, will return to Malaysia once travelling is permitted.

MHC hope their players will get to train again as they need to regain their touches for upcoming international tournaments.

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