Guyana aiming to attend Junior Pan Am Hockey Championship in 2021

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Providing there is some semblance of normalcy to allow for competitive sport to fully resume, the Guyana Hockey Board is aiming to send a team to the Junior Pan American Championship in 2021. The Pan American Federation recently announced that the event will take place from April 12-25 in Chile.

“Following the suspension of all International hockey competition in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games from 2020 to 2021, the FIH (the world governing body) have been working with the Continental Federations to reschedule competitions wherever possible,” the Pan American Federation said on its website.

“The core principle has been to attempt to reorganise competitions wherever possible, and to manage the international hockey calendar flexibly to enable this to happen, whilst prioritising athlete health.”

National Coach Robert Fernandes said Guyana will endeavour to prepare a team to compete at the championship next year.

“Junior Pan Am is held every four years. It’s a key component of the player development pathway for countries in this part of the world. In the past when we have not attended you could have seen how it negatively affected the development of our players and the quality of our teams,” Fernandes noted.

“We were fortunate to be at the last one in 2016 in Toronto and you can see how several of those players have graduated to become key members of our senior national team, so we will be making every effort to ensure that we are represented in Chile next year.”

Off-field challenges

“It’s going to be very difficult to navigate preparing for the tournament in the current coronavirus and post-elections reality. I also expect funding is going to become very difficult to secure, considering the expected economic fallout from both the virus and the political situation,” Fernandes asserted.

“But I like to focus on the positives and I believe we have a group of strong, very intelligent, high-character young men who can show the region what a proud, unified Guyanese team can achieve.”

At the last championship, Guyana finished in the penultimate position of seventh, losing 1-7 to Chile and Mexico and 0-8 to Canada in Pool B. In the quarter-final, the Guyanese lost 0-12 to Argentina and 2-3 to Mexico in the fifth place playoff, before beating Puerto Rico 4-2 in the seventh place playoff.

Update on Junior Continental Championships

The Junior Continental Championships, which act as the qualification competition for the 2021 Junior World Cups at the end of 2021, were originally due to be completed in 2020. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this has not been possible in all continents, with the exception of Europe.

In order to provide opportunity for all competitions to take place, the FIH has extended the window by which they must be completed until May 2021.

This is six months before the Junior World Cups will take place in India (men) and South Africa (women), and as long as the FIH and the hosts know who the competing nations will be by May then all logistics, marketing and arrangements can still be made in good time.

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