The delay in the start of the day’s opening match between defending champions South Korea and debutants Oman due to heavy rains forced the organisers of the ninth Asia Cup hockey tournament to skip the mandatory national anthem ceremony, in Ipoh on Wednesday.

It was a crucial Pool B match as both Korea and Oman were in with a chance of qualifying for the semifinals, but heavy showers just before the game delayed the start for about 40 minutes.

Once the rain subsided, the two teams quickly took the field and lined-up for the national anthem ritual but with rains eating away considerable amount of time, the organisers decided to skip the national anthem as players of both the teams shook hands and began the match.

The organisers’ decision was justified considering the fact that India take on Bangladesh in the final match of Pool ’B’ later in the evening.

Incidentally, it was for the second time in the tournament that the organisers faced an embarrassing with the national anthem.

Earlier, the organisers failed to play the national anthem of Chinese Taipei ahead of its second Pool ‘A’ encounter against Japan on August 25 due to a technical fault.

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