In October 2022, Hockey India had announced the withdrawal of its men’s and women’s teams from next year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. There were two reasons - i. The pull-out was due to COVID-19 concerns and UK's discriminatory quarantine rules for travellers from the country and ii. The small gap between the Birmingham Games (July 28-August 8) and the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 10-25).
It is pertinent to mention that the UK, at that time, was the worst affected country in Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic. It can't risk sending its players to the UK. On top of that, the UK had refused to recognise India's COVID-19 vaccination certificates and imposed a 10-day hard quarantine on travellers from the country even if they were fully vaccinated.
India also reasoned that there is only a 32-day window available between Birmingham Games (July 28-August 8) and the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 10-25) and it meant that India’s hockey players would still be recovering from the previous tournament. With the Asian Games being a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics, it is understood that HI places more importance on that tournament.
One should remember this had took place a day after England pulled out of the FIH Men's Junior World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar the next month i.e. November. It cited a number of COVID-related concerns and taking "note" of the Indian government's mandatory 10-day quarantine protocol for all UK nationals.
Prior to this development, the UK had relaxed some restrictions on all travellers from India but imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine. It was noted that the British authorities had raised questions over India’s vaccination certificate format, which led to fully vaccinated travellers from India being treated as unvaccinated.
This was the reason India had imposed reciprocal measures on travellers from the United Kingdom in response to UK’s refusal to recognise Indian vaccine certificates. After the measures were imposed, visitors from UK had to quarantine themselves for 10 days and subject themselves to RT-PCR tests after arriving in India. These war of "actions" between India and England (the country which started this game) had led to India's withdrawal from UK.
India reverses its decision
When Asian Games 2022 postponed, it came as a sigh of relief to Indian hockey teams as they were considering to participate in the Games. After intervention by the Union government and sports minister Anurag Thakur, Hockey India reversed its decision to withdraw from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Louise Martin announced that the Indian hockey teams will compete at the CWG 2022.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra during a dialogue with CGF president Louise Martin stated that the Indian hockey contingent will take part in the Commonwealth Games only after securing qualification. "Indian Sports Minister has been involved I understand and he has been influential. The GCF President (Dame Louis Martin) has been in close dialogue with IOA President."
HI's decision to withdraw its teams from the CWG had met with criticism from the sports ministry, with the officials calling the move 'unilateral' and 'impulsive'. In fact, Thakur had quipped "Is the FIH (international Hockey Federation) president (Batra) going to decide India's participation in the CWG?"
The Indian men’s and women’s teams have qualified for the Commonwealth Games 2022 by virtue of their FIH rankings.
Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (captain), Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (vice captain), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita
Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Salima Tete
Forwards: Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Sangita Kumari
Indian Men’s Hockey Team for CWG 2022-
Goalkeepers: PR Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak.
Defenders: Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Jugraj Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh. Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (c), Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Nilakanta Sharma.
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek.