Managing the cost of boarding and lodging will be a challenging task for private hockey academies competing in the inaugural edition of the Khelo India Women’s Hockey League U-16, starting on Monday at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in New Delhi.
“There is no provision of accommodation or food for teams competing in the 10-day long age-group competition in Delhi,” a senior hockey coach associated with the tournament said.
Since outstation teams have to make their own arrangements, the hockey team from Haryana in Sonepat will have to travel daily for at least two to three hours one way to Delhi for the competition as they don’t have adequate budget.
“It will be more economical for us to travel every day for the competition rather than stay in Delhi,” one of the officials of the academy said.
Academies under the government umbrella have resources, while those run by individuals have a shoe-string budget.
“No doubt the Khelo India Women’s Hockey League U-16 is a good platform to gain valuable experience as there is less competition in the girl’s section, but there should be some provision to support outstation teams that have meager resources,” a Delhi-based hockey coach said.
The second leg of the league is scheduled to be held in October in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, while the third and final leg is slated for Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Sixteen teams from across the country have been shortlisted for the 10-day tournament that concludes on August 23. The matches will start at 6.30 in the morning.
Pool A consists of Sports Authority of India A, Bhai Behlo Hockey Academy, Bhagta, Delhi's Ghumanhera Riser's Academy, Citizen Hockey XI, Smart Hockey Academy, Raipur, Pritam Siwach Hockey Academy, Sonepat, Mumbai School Sports Association, and Sports Hostel Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Anantapur Hockey Academy, Sports Authority of India B, HAR Hockey Academy, Delhi Hockey, Madhya Pradesh Hockey, Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Center, Salute Hockey Academy and Sports Authority of Gujarat Academy have been clubbed in Pool B.