Karnataka to host National Hockey Championship


Bangalore – After a three-year interval, the senior men’s National Hockey Championship for the Rangaswamy Cup will commence here Wednesday, with defending champions Mumbai taking on hosts Karnataka in the opening fixture.

The week-long tournament that concludes on May 16, will see zonal winners Punjab (North), Mumbai (West), Karnataka (South), Jharkhand (East), Uttar Pradesh (Central) and Manipur (North-East) playing one another on a single league basis followed by classification matches for positions 1-4.

The zonal system returns as the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) attempts to make the event more competitive, while doing away with farcical one-sided games besides cutting down on duration of the tournament and by extension the costs of hosting some 20-plus teams.

In the past few decades, the IHF had experimented with various formats, one of them being the current zonal system that was subsequently discarded when the smaller teams complained of the lack of exposure and opportunity to play the top sides, thus stunting development.

Inadequate sponsorship and shoe-string budgets have forced the IHF to revert to the compact zonal system. Despite the constraints, the Karnataka State Hockey Association was contemplating cash awards in a welcome departure from tradition.

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Edited by Staff Editor