Sports Canadian field hockey team stuck in South Africa trying to find its way home

08:50  30 november  2021
08:50  30 november  2021 Source:   cbc.ca

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The Canadian women's junior team is in South Africa , but a COVID-19 variant has cancelled their tournament and their flights home . “The Government of Canada , firstly through Sport Canada and then through Global Affairs, is actively working on our behalf to bring our athletes and staff home ,” a team spokesperson wrote to Daily Hive in an email. To add insult to injury, added travel restrictions into Canada and elsewhere of those who have travelled to South Africa means that the players are currently unsure of what their flight path home will be, saying that they are “waiting for flight

“ Field Hockey Canada has responded very quickly to try and find us flights back to Canada but so far we have not had any success,” said Mollenhauer. “We have reached out to the [world governing body] FIH for assistance as well as other South African contacts to see if they can do anything for us. Canada qualified for the Junior World Cup in South Africa by winning the Americas’ regional qualifying tournament in September at Santiago, Chile. The Canadian junior team players are being prepared for the 2024 Paris, 2028 Los Angeles and 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games. “ It ’ s honestly been pretty crazy.

The Canadian women's junior field hockey team were in South Africa for the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021, initially slated for the city of Potchefstroom from Dec. 5 to 16. It has since been cancelled due to concerns about the omicron variant of the coronavirus. © @fhc_wolfpups/Instagram The Canadian women's junior field hockey team were in South Africa for the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021, initially slated for the city of Potchefstroom from Dec. 5 to 16. It has since been cancelled due to concerns about the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

A junior field hockey team from Canada stranded in South Africa is hoping to come back home by the end of the week after the newly discovered coronavirus variant named omicron spurred global travel restrictions and cancelled flights to the region.

The new potentially more transmissible virus was first identified in South Africa. On Friday, the Canadian government announced all foreign nationals who have travelled through South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini or Mozambique in the last 14 days will be barred from entering Canada.

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The Canadian Junior Women’s National Field hockey team were set to compete in South Africa for the Junior World Cup. But the tournament, scheduled to start next week, was abruptly cancelled due to a national health emergency. “Literally less than 12 hours later we found out right after training that our tournament was cancelled and that we had to try and get back to Canada as soon as possible.” Several countries have issued travel bans and restrictions due to the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, first reported in South Africa on Wednesday.

The federal government is working hard to get a Canadian field hockey team stranded in South Africa back home . The situation has arisen as a result of the Omicron variant. Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge called the team on Saturday to offer reassurance no stone is being left unturned, says Jenn Within hours, said Beagan, emails and messages started pinging her inbox, warning about an infectious new COVID-19 variant in South Africa called Omicron. “Then we went off to training with the girls, and within a couple of hours we were then getting messaging that borders were closing down and things

Canadian nationals and citizens are still allowed to return home under the new rules, but travel has become much more onerous with many commercial carriers cutting flights and putting new testing and quarantine measures in place.

The team, which includes 14 women from B.C., had flown to South Africa to train and compete at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Women's Junior World Cup taking place in Potchefstroom from Dec. 5 to 16.

On Friday, the tournament was postponed because of the omicron variant. Teams from the U.K. and Europe would have been unable to participate because of the travel restrictions.

Sue Goddard's two daughters, Nora, 20, and Arden, 18, of Metro Vancouver are part of the team stranded in South Africa. All of the team's players are under 21.

South Africa is previously grown for the virus variant area

 South Africa is previously grown for the virus variant area because of new Corona variant's virus variant area, the Delta variant of the coronavirus in Europe and already brings the health systems of some states to their limits. Now a new variant and health minister Spahn explains the country to the virus variant area in South Africa. © Getty Images A South African beach with colorful beach houses Germany will explain South Africa for the newly occurring Corona variant B.1.1.529 to the virus variant area.

Two UK and Irish rugby teams trying to flee South Africa after the discovery of the Omicron strain of Covid-19 say they are unable to leave the country after reporting positive tests – at least one of which is the new variant. Direct flights from South Africa to the UK ground to a halt on Friday as authorities acted quickly to inhibit the potential spread of the new strain, while both Munster and Cardiff will be obliged to undertake mandatory isolation when they eventually return to their home countries – moves which will throw several of their further fixtures into doubt.

Canada ’s women’s junior field hockey team was stranded in Potchefstroom, South Africa with no flights home , after their World Cup, set to open Dec. The team has been in contact with Canada ’s Minister for Sport Pascale St-Onge, as well as the Canadian High Commission in Pretoria and the global field hockey federation, to help facilitate flights home . But the new variant, which may be more transmissible, has prompted several countries including Canada to introduce travel restrictions focused on countries in southern Africa where community spread is known.

"At that time, the borders and flights down to South Africa started to shut down and they found out pretty quickly that they had no way of getting home," Goddard said Monday.

Video: Emergence of Omicron variant strands group of B.C. athletes in South Africa (Global News)

Major disappointment

Nancy Mollenhauer, the team's manager, said it was incredibly disappointing for the team, particularly after winning the gold medal at the Junior Pan American Games in Chile earlier this year, that they would not get to play.

"It's a huge deal. For a junior athlete, at this point, it's the pinnacle of their career," Mollenhauer said.

Goddard said the team's focus soon switched to how they were getting home.

"Initially all the girls were devastated and they were just focused on the fact that they had all literally trained and worked for this for years and it wasn't happening," she said. "Then there was quite a bit of anxiety from everyone about how they were going to get home."

Goddard said South African and Canadian officials have been supporting the team and working hard to get them home.

"The university that they're staying at has taken extraordinarily wonderful care of them," she said. "We were never worried about their physical safety, just anxious to get them back on planes and back to Canada."

Field Hockey Canada CEO Susan Ahrens says that could soon be a possibility. She says the team has secured a route back on Dec. 8, but is looking at coming back even earlier on Dec. 3.

For now, Mollenhauer says the team is taking things day-by-day.

"We're here. We're safe. We're being well looked after and we know that we're in good hands here in South Africa and also at home," she said.

Women's field hockey team back in Canada after getting stuck in South Africa as omicron emerged .
A long ordeal for Canada's junior women's field hockey team has come to an end, as the team quarantines in a Toronto-area hotel after being stranded in South Africa due to restrictions around the omicron coronavirus variant. The women arrived home Thursday following more than a week of uncertainty. "It's actually such a relief to finally be back home on Canadian soil," said Jenna Berger, one of two team members from Waterloo. "Just finally being able to get a hug from your parents after everything you've been through, because it was extremely hard, emotionally and mentally on all of us athletes.

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