The senior national hockey tournament seems to have run into a jinx with the organisers postponing the event, scheduled in Pune next month, due to swine flu.

“The senior men’s nationals have been postponed due to the prevailing H1N1 conditions. The new dates shall be announced when conditions become normal there,” Hockey India said in a statement.

The nationals, last held in Jalandhar three years back, was scheduled in Pune from September 13-27 under the aegis of Maharashtra Hockey Association.

Hockey India secretary general Mohd Aslam said with the situation looking grim in Pune, epicentre of the pandemic, there was no question of hosting the event there.

“The position is very bad in Pune. Everyday there are reports of new cases emerging. In such circumstances, we cannot take the risk of exposing the players to the virus by conducting the tournament,” Aslam said.

Swine flu has already claimed 13 lives in Pune. “We will have to sit and figure out all the options, but at this juncture the tournament remains postponed indefinitely,” Aslam said.

Asked if the nationals could have been shifted to some other state, he said, “It is impossible for us to shift the nationals to some other place at such a short notice.

“To shift the tournament, we would have to check the infrastructure and the facilities. If situation improves, we will reschedule the tournament but I cannot assure you.”

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