The Australian men’s team forfeited their second consecutive game today, at the Asian Men’s Championship, due to a high number of players forced into quarantine after returning positive Covid-19 tests.
The Aussies were due to meet Hong Kong in the placement rounds of the championship but were unable to field a complete team.
Head coach Taip Ramadani, and players Saša Šestić and Keelan Smith-Connor presented at the pre-game ceremony to honour Hong Kong’s team and match officials, and exchange customary team banners.
“This has been a challenging championship for all of us. We trained hard leading up to this event and did everything possible to have a safe environment for the team. So, when we received news of the first positive tests, we were devastated,” said Taip Ramadani.
“We are following all public health orders and doing everything to protect our players, as well as our opponents and tournament officials. We had no choice but to isolate ourselves and follow medical recommendations to minimise further risk to our players and staff.
“Several players will end their mandatory quarantine period tomorrow, and we hope to return for our final group match against Singapore, if the competition’s Medical Commission states that it is ok to do so.
“We had been excited to be back in a major international tournament again after two years without any matches so, these test results came at the worst possible time for us, but we have accepted our fate and are now focusing on regrouping and getting back into the competition as soon as we can.”
In accordance with competition rules, the forfeit is recorded as 10:0 loss for Australia.
Yesterday, Australia forfeited their clash with Oman, leaving the team with two losses from two games in this round of the competition.
In the first round, Australia lost to Iran and Saudi Arabia and defeated India.
Australia will now hope to play the last group match of this round against Singapore, on Tuesday, with most of the players coming out of the mandatory quarantine period on Monday.
Group 4 results
Oman : Australia 10:0 (forfeit)
Hong Kong defeated Singapore 31:13
Hong Kong : Australia 10:0 (forfeit)
Oman defeated Singapore 37:12
Group 4 table
Featured photo: Australian men's team lined up before the match against Iran, Dammam, 18 January 2022
Photo credit: Chris Seen, Chris Seen Photography