Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): A total of 24 teams will vie for top honours at the 1st Hockey India Sub-Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021 which kicked off in Bhopal on Monday.
After six days of pool matches, the quarter-finals will be played on October 10, the semi-finals will be held on October 12 whereas the medal matches are scheduled for October 13.
Head coach for Sub-Junior category at the Naval Tata Hockey Academy -- Jamshedpur said this tournament is a great opportunity for the academies to increase the talent pool.
"It is great that Hockey India has now started an Inter Academy Nationals for Sub Junior category. Now that the first edition is kicking off, the academies can also focus on growing the talent pool in the sub-junior category and a prestigious tournament like this will give the players a very good exposure," he said.
Speaking about Naval Tata Hockey Academy -- Jamshedpur's chances in the tournament, he said, "We are grouped in Pool A with some good teams. We have been working hard for this tournament and our main focus right now is to do well in the pool stage and qualify for the knockouts."
Meanwhile, Rashid Aziz Khan, head coach of SAI-Academy who are grouped in Pool E said this tournament will be a good platform for the players to showcase their talent and go back with an enriching experience.
"This tournament will provide a very good experience for the players. We held the trials in KIIT University for which players came from different parts of the state. We selected 25 players for the camp, and had good preparations. We arrived in Bhopal on Friday and we are staying in SAI Centre where the tournament is being held. Like every other team, we too have come to win and will put up our best performance. Since this is the first tournament in this category, we have not had an opportunity to see the teams but I am aware that Dhyan Chand Hockey Academy has been preparing for this tournament well in Lucknow and they will put up a good fight," stated Rashid.
The participating teams include Berar Hockey Academy (Vidarbha) Amravati, Naval Tata Hockey Academy - Jamshedpur and Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre in Pool A, while Pool B features Bhai Behlo Hockey Academy Bhagta, Namdhari XI, Olympian Vivek Singh Hockey Academy. Pool C features Cheema Hockey Academy, Mumbai Schools Sports Association, Raja Karan Hockey Academy and Pool D features Citizen Hockey XI, Mata Sahib Kaur Hockey Academy Jarkhar - Ludhiana and Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy.
Pool E will include Dhyan Chand Hockey Academy, Markandeshwar Hockey Academy, SAI- Academy and Pool F will feature Ghumanhera Riser's Academy, Malwa Hockey Academy Hanumangarh and SGPC Hockey Academy. Pool G will include HAR Hockey Academy, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Tamil Nadu Hockey Academy while Pool H will see HIM Academy, Jai Bharat Hockey Academy and Vadipatti Raja Hockey Academy vie for honours.
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