Heat wave forces rescheduling

Matches to start at 8 a.m.

The breaks extended beyond stipulated time and the players were barely able to stand or walk off the turf but at the end of their draining encounter, Mexico came out 4-2 winner over Uzbekistan in the classification match for the last two places at the Hockey Series Finals at the Kalinga Stadium here on Wednesday.

The conditions, however, forced the International Hockey Federation to implement its warm weather policy in the second half of the game played early in the morning and also reschedule the morning games for Friday, advancing the timing by 45 minutes.

With severe heat wave conditions continuing across the entire state of Odisha and the meteorological department warning of the situation continuing for the next couple of days, the FIH announced that Friday’s first game — match for 5th place — will begin at 8 a.m. instead of the scheduled 8.45 a.m. Already, the organisers had avoided any match in the day time to counter the hot weather.

“In order to adjust to the current high temperatures affecting Bhubaneswar and considering that the welfare of athletes, fans, volunteers, officials and everyone involved is paramount, the FIH… implemented its warm weather policy (on Wednesday),” it said.

Accordingly, the quarter-break is extended to four minutes instead of two and an additional 1-minute break is given after seven-and-half minutes of play in the 3rd and 4th quarters. In the past, the warm weather policy was applied at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as well.

“It was very hot and not the best of playing conditions. The organisers did their best to ensure player safety, but when you take unscheduled breaks, it affects the rhythm and tempo of the match. But weather is beyond control for anybody,” Mexican coach Pol Moreno admitted.

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