South Africa Covid travel restrictions spell heartbreak for Sussex hockey duo

Two East Grinstead hockey players have had their dreams of international glory shattered after the England U21 squad had to pull out of the FIH Junior Women’s World Cup in South Africa.

Alex Malzer -one of two EGHC players who was due to go to the Under-21 World Cup in South Africa
Alex Malzer -one of two EGHC players who was due to go to the Under-21 World Cup in South Africa

The squad were due to travel last Sunday, with the event scheduled for December 5-16 in Potchefstroom, with EG pair Mila Welch and Alex Malzer in the party.

But South Africa has been placed on the UK’s travel red list which carries with it significant government guidance and restrictions on travel, along with a period of hotel quarantine on arrival back in the UK.

Chief Executive Nick Pink said: “First and foremost, I am desperately disappointed for our young players and staff who have prepared so well for this event.

“They have been extremely diligent and professional and can be proud of the way they have approached every challenge presented to them.

“We informed them and once again they conducted themselves exceptionally in very difficult circumstances.

“Of course the opportunity to take part in a World Cup is a huge honour so we fully understand how significant this news is to our young players.

“We understand and respect the government’s decision, and of course we would never take any risks with the health and wellbeing of our travelling group, so in that respect our hands were tied, unfortunately.”