Jind (Haryana) [India], March 15 (ANI): A total of 24 teams will vie for top honours at the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021 which commences on Wednesday at the Rajiv Gandhi Mahavidyalaya, Uchana in Jind district, Haryana.
With many competitions being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the national-level hockey players around the country are eager to return to a competitive environment and test their skills against the best players in their age group. A good show in this prestigious event will help players grab the attention of the national selectors who will be closely following the tournament.
Hosts Hockey Haryana coach Gurvinder Singh believes that the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021 provides an excellent opportunity for the state team management to identify talent and groom them into future players for India. He said: "There's a lot of talent in the Sub Junior level and the tournament provides us with an opportunity to identify talent and further mould them into better players, who could go on to play for India. This is the right age for the identification of talent. If we identify a talented player at this level, then we still have enough time in our hands to make slight changes to a player's technique."
After five days of pool matches, the quarterfinals will be played on March 22. The semi-finals and the final will be held on March 24 and 25 respectively.
Titleholders Hockey Odisha expressed confidence stating they are ready for the challenge. "We have prepared well for the tournament and we are hopeful to defend the title. But I am sure we will be challenged by teams like hosts Hockey Haryana, Uttar Pradesh Hockey and Hockey Punjab also will have a good team," stated Bijay Kumar Lakra, coach, Hockey Odisha who won the 9th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championships 2019 (A Div) by beating Uttar Pradesh Hockey in the Final.
"Apart from several SOPs laid out by Hockey India, all athletes and officials must also follow physical distancing measures at all locations, except athletes on the field. Hockey Haryana has also appointed Dr. Pradeep Nain and Dr. Amit Kumar as Hygiene Officers who will be present at the venue to monitor the participants' well-being," Hockey India said in a statement. (ANI)