Domestic hockey season set to begin in Delhi tomorrow

Domestic hockey season set to begin in Delhi tomorrow

New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Six teams will vie for top honours in the second Hockey India Senior Women Inter-Department National Championship 2022, while 29 teams will compete in the second Hockey India Sub-junior Men Academy National Championship 2022, scheduled to commence in New Delhi and Ghumanhera (South West Delhi), respectively from Wednesday.

The senior women’s tournament will be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. The teams will play five matches each in the pool stage and the top two teams will play the final on March 30.

The finalists of the previous edition, Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) will play the opening match of the tournament on Wednesday.

RSPB coach and former Indian women’s team captain Pritam Siwach said here team is prepared to defend the title. “We have been training really hard for the past 20 days, we have a lot of new players coming in and I think the team is shaping up really well. We are very much looking forward to the competition and are certainly prepared to defend the title,” Siwach said.

“The exclusive championship for departments is a great initiative. I think it will not only create job opportunities for players, but will also inspire other departments to set up women hockey teams.”

Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) coach Pradeep Singh, whose side finished third in the previous edition, is confident of putting up a better show this year.

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“I think we are prepared in the best way possible. We have worked hard, and the players are confident of doing better than the previous edition. Let’s see how things pan out in the tournament, but we are ready for it. We have some new players in the team and I believe this tournament will provide a very good exposure to them,” said Singh.

As many as 29 teams will compete in the second Hockey India Sub-junior Men Academy National Championship which will be played at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in Ghumanhera on Wednesday.

After six days of pool matches, the quarterfinals will be played on March 29, the semis on March 31 and the title match on April 1.

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Defending champions, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy coach Mohd Sameer Dad said, “There will be a pressure going as the defending champions, but it will depend on how players react. There are some players who were part of last year’s win, we have also scouted new players, so it makes a good team combination of new and little experienced kids in the team. We have prepared well, we just need to approach match-by-match.”

Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre, which finished second in the inaugural edition, are aiming for another podium finish.

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“We are really excited to take part in the second edition of the Sub Junior Men Academy National Championship. It gives a unique experience to the Academy kids. These kids had recently watched the FIH Pro League matches from close quarters, so they are motivated to step on the field and apply their learnings from what they have observed in the International games and, we are aiming for yet another podium finish in this tournament,” said Odisha Naval Centre coach Vijay Paswan.

–IANS

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