Indian men’s hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Amit Rohidas, Abhishek, and others who had taken part in the Hangzhou Asian Games will be seen in action for their state units in the 13th Hockey India Senior National men’s hockey championship to be held at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here from November 17 to 28. Moreover, the support staff of the National team is expected to be at the championships to monitor the Indian players.
Craig Fulton, India’s head coach, is expected to come to the city to watch the young talent in a day or two.
Punjab will be the run-away favourite as it has five current Indian players including Harmanpreet and a host of Internationals. Defending champion Haryana, too, will fancy its chances as it has in its ranks Sumit and Abhishek, who were at Hangzhou, and a couple of Internationals.
The host and last year’s runner-up Tamil Nadu has S. Karthi, who played at the Asian Champions Trophy this year, and Junior India player Sathish. “We hope to be in the podium as we have trained hard,” said P. Senthil Kumar, secretary of Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN), at a press conference here on Thursday.
HUTN president and Hockey India treasurer Sekar J. Manoharan said: “we are witnessing so many Indian players competing in the Nationals after a long time. This will be one of the selection events for [Paris Olympics]. We hope to see huge crowds here like what we witnessed at Ranchi during the ACT women’s tournament.”
The groupings: Pool-A: Haryana, Chhattisgarh & Gujarat; B: TN, Himachal & Assam; C: Karnataka, Bihar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli & Daman & Diu Hockey; D: Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttarakhand & Tripura; E: Bengal, MP, J&K, Manipur; F: Jharkhand, Chandigarh, AP & Goans; G: UP, Le Puducherry, Kerala, Rajasthan; H: Delhi, Odisha, Telangana, Arunachal.