National hockey circuit to grab eyeballs with a slew of nationals
With not much international hockey action for India until the FIH Hockey World League, which is slated to be held in June across various venues, the focus would now shift to the domestic hockey circuit.
With the inaugural Hero Hockey India League over and the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Hockey tournament (held in Ipoh, Malaysia) drawing to a close, the India-Pakistan home-and-away series was looked upon with great interest.
Now that the bilateral series stands cancelled on account of diplomatic tensions, it’s the domestic hockey scene which would attract the interest of hockey buffs.
Starting April, Hockey India would conduct the Senior Women’s National Hockey Championship at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from April 18 to 30. All the leading lights like Indian Railways, Haryana, Odisha among others are expected to compete in the eleven-day tourney.
Indian Railways are the defending champions having drubbed Haryana 5-0 in the summit clash in the 2012 edition.
The Senior Men’s National Hockey Championship would be staged at Pune, Maharashtra from May 28 to June 10. Powerhouses like Punjab, Air India, Karnataka and Haryana would be competing in the fourteen-day tournament.
Punjab are reigning champions, having edged out Air India 2-1 in the title tilt last year. Punjab won after Air India conceded an own goal in the second minute of extra time. Karnataka had picked up the bronze medal after pipping 2011 champions Haryana 2-1 in the play-off match.
Further, Hockey India also announced the dates of junior and sub-junior nationals. The National Junior Men’s Hockey Championship would be held at Rohtak, Haryana from May 27 to June 6.
Big teams like Punjab, Odisha and Haryana are competing in the eleven-day tournament.
Punjab are the defending champions, having sneaked past Odisha 4-3 in the final last year. Haryana had finished third pipping SAI Bhopal 2-0 in the play-off tie.
The National Junior Women’s Hockey Championship would be held at Ranchi from April 19 to May 1. Top teams like Haryana, Chandigarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy would be competing in the thirteen-day tourney.
Haryana are the defending champions, having edged out Chandigarh 5-4 in the final. Jharkhand took the bronze beating Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 3-2.
Significantly, Hockey India has doled out financial grants to all the member associations, who have been given the responsibility of hosting this year’s national championships.
HI has sanctioned Rs. 20,00,000 for the men’s senior nationals, Rs. 18,00,000 for the women’s senior nationals, Rs 17,00,000 for the junior men’s nationals and Rs 15,00,000 for the junior women’s nationals respectively.
The hockey body also granted Rs 3,00,000 each for all the zonal sub-junior championships and Rs 3,50,000 each for the final of the sub-junior men’s and women’s nationals.
Senior National Championships: Men – Pune (May 28-June 10),
Senior National Championships: Women – Lucknow (April 18-30).
Junior National Championships: Men – Rohtak (May 27-June 6).
Junior National Championships: Women – Ranchi (April 19-May 1).
Sub-Junior National Championships for Men and Women: North Zone – Sonepat (April 10-15), South Zone – Chennai (April 17-22), East Zone – Nagaon (April 3-8), West Zone – Mumbai (April 11-16), Finals – Hyderabad (May 1-7).