The stage is set for the prestigious 12th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2022, which will begin from Friday, May 6 in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. A total of 27 teams will be battling it out for the top honours in the 12-day tournament.
The participating teams are divided into eight pools. Teams in Pool A are Hockey Madhya Pradesh, Hockey Chandigarh and Hockey Bihar, while Pool B features Hockey Haryana, Assam Hockey and Hockey Bengal. Pool C consists of Hockey Punjab, Chhattisgarh Hockey and Tripura Hockey, while Pool D features Hockey Maharashtra, Hockey Rajasthan, Hockey Uttarakhand.
Hockey Jharkhand, Hockey Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry Hockey have been included in Pool E, while Hockey Karnataka, Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu, Hockey Arunachal, Hockey Andaman and Nicobar have been slotted in Pool F.
Pool G consists of Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Delhi Hockey, Goans Hockey and Hockey Gujarat, while Pool H has Hockey Association of Odisha, Kerala Hockey, Telangana Hockey and Hockey Himachal.
Speaking at the prospect of defending the Title, Hockey Madhya Pradesh Coach Vandana Uikey said, "There will be a bit of pressure playing at home as the Title defenders, but I think we are fully prepared, both mentally as well as physically. We will go game-by-game, our first target is to qualify for the quarters, and then approach the knockout stage depending on who we play against. Preparations have been fantastic, and players are excited to take part in the competition."
Meanwhile, the coach of last year's runners-up team, Hockey Haryana, Kuldeep Siwach said," We narrowly missed out on the title last year, but this time I am expecting that we will win the Title and continue Hockey Haryana's legacy in the competition. We've been training for a long time, and we will certainly give our best to win the Title."
Speaking about her team's preparations for the competition, Hockey Punjab's Coach Yogita Bali said, "Preparations have been really great for the tournament. We have a good mix of young and experienced players. Around 10 players have recently got their exposure from Khelo India, so we have good momentum for this tournament. We finished third last year, but we hope to reach the Final this time."
After eight days of pool matches, the quarter-finals will be played on May 14, 2022, the semi-finals will be held on May 16, 2022 and the Medal matches are scheduled for May 17, 2022. (ANI)