Hockeyroos' games in China postponed

The Hockeyroos will bypass China in their preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, with a pair of Pro League games postponed because of the coronavirus.

The Hockeyroos have become the latest sporting team forced to alter their schedule because of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Australia's women's hockey team, who later this year will seek to win their first Olympic medal since triumphing at home in 2000, were slated to travel to Changzhou and face China in Pro League matches on March 14 and 15.

Those games have now been scrapped, with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) scrambling to find new dates and another venue.

"This is the right thing to do under the circumstances and Hockey Australia fully supports the FIH's stance," said Hockey Australia chief executive Matt Favier said.

The FIH confirmed the latest change to its schedule, which comes after this weekend's games between Belgium and China in Changzhou were also postponed.

"Hockey Australia's number one priority is always the health, well-being and safety of our athletes and staff," Hockey Australia high-performance director Toni Cumpston said.

"We raised our concerns with FIH and initiated discussions as soon as the threat of the coronavirus was first publicised.

"We are happy that FIH have made this decision and we look forward to working with them and the Chinese Hockey Association to organise another suitable time to play the matches."

The Pro League, a home-and-away competition involving the world's best teams, is a key part of the Hockeyroos' preparation for Tokyo 2020.

Australia lost to the Netherlands in last year's Pro League final in a penalty shootout.

The Hockeyroos' 2020 Pro League campaign continues on March 6 against Argentina in Perth.


AAP