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2nd Sultan of Johor Cup: Indian junior men’s hockey team leaves for Malaysia

The Manpreet Singh-led 18-member Indian junior men’s hockey team left for Malaysia to take part in the six-nation second Sultan of Johor Cup beginning at Johor Bahru on Sunday.

The junior team would be looking to turn in a decent performance this time around after finishing fourth in the inaugural edition last year, losing narrowly 3-4 to South Korea in the third place play-off match.

The squad has five survivors – Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, P L Thimmanna, Satbir Singh and Talwinder Singh from the team that participated in the 2011 edition.

The men in blue posted two wins and suffered three defeats in the inaugural edition. India had started their campaign on a losing note, going down 4-6 to South Korea – a team they eventually faced in the play-off tie. India then lost 2-3 to Australia in a close affair before coming out all guns blazing against arch-rivals Pakistan, walloping them 5-1 to rack up their first win in the tournament after two opening losses. The Indian juniors then overcame New Zealand 2-1 before they were handed a 1-5 thrashing by defending champions and hosts Malaysia.

This year, almost all the teams from the 2011 edition (barring South Korea) will be showcasing their hockey skills in the tournament spread over eight days. Germany have replaced South Korea for the 2012 edition.

India would launch their campaign against Australia on the opening day of the tournament on November 11 before they lock horns with Germany on November 12. India clash with arch-rivals Pakistan on November 14 and New Zealand on November 15. The men in blue wrap up their league engagements with their final match against Malaysia on November 17.

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