Johannesburg [South Africa], November 26 (ANI): Following the outbreak of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the South African Hockey Association and the North-West University of Potchefstroom have jointly decided that the FIH Hockey Women's Junior World Cup South Africa 2021, scheduled to be held in Potchefstroom from December 5 to 16, has been put on hold.
"The safety of everyone involved in the FIH events is an absolute priority. Additionally, many countries, including some of the participating teams, have now strongly increased their travel restrictions with South Africa, including halting flights. Therefore, it simply isn't possible to maintain this event as planned. This is hugely disappointing. An FIH Junior World Cup is so important for the development of young players," stated FIH CEO Thierry Weil in a release.
"Also, it was the first time that an FIH World Cup was due to take place on African soil. On behalf of FIH, I'd like to thank all teams for their understanding as well as the local organisers for their great work and collaboration. FIH will keep monitoring the situation and make a decision about the potential staging of the 2021 FIH Hockey Women's Junior World Cup as soon as it will be possible to do so." he stated further.
The new variant was first detected in South Africa this week and scientists there have said B.1.1.529 has a large number of mutations.
The South African National Institute of Infectious Diseases later also confirmed that the new strain had been found in South Africa. (ANI)