KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Women’s Hockey Special Project Squad’s opening match against China in the 2021 Women’s Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) scheduled for Sunday (Dec 5) in Donghae, South Korea has been called off.
The decision came after Malaysian player Nurul Faezah Shafiqah Khalim was confirmed to be Covid-19 positive after undergoing a swab test upon the team’s arrival on Nov 29, which led to the entire team being quarantined since Dec 1.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) said in a statement on Saturday (Dec 4) night that although they respected the organiser’s decision, the federation was working with the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) to find the best solution so that the Malaysian Tigress team could play in the championship.
“Nurul Faezah and the entire national squad (players, coaches, MHF development technical director and special project squad) are in good health and have not exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms,” MHF said.
Meanwhile, the AHF said in a separate statement that the Malaysian squad would not play on Sunday and Monday due to Covid-19 related issues.
“The AHF regrets the unfortunate situation that has arisen, in large part due to significant, very recent changes in local and Soluth Korean Covid protocols based on high new case numbers in the country and region as well as the appearance of the new variant Omicron.
“The AHF and the Korean Hockey Association are doing their utmost to bring the Malaysian women’s team back later in the event.
“It is a key priority for us to allow all athletes and team staff who have trained, prepared and travelled for this amazing event to participate in it,” the statement read.
After the opening match against China, Malaysia was scheduled to take on India on Monday, Japan on Dec 8, hosts South Korea on Dec 9 and Thailand on Dce 11 in the six-team championship.
The national squad’s best achievement was the bronze medal in the 2013 edition, while the Malaysian Tigress team placed fourth in the last edition in 2018. – Bernama