Defending champion Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Hockey Association of Odisha, last edition's runner-up Hockey Haryana and Hockey Punjab will be among the top contenders in the 12th Hockey India Junior Men's National Championship 2022 starting here on Tuesday.
In all 30 teams will compete in the tournament, with the final of the competition to be played on May 29. The participating teams have been divided into 8 pools of four teams each, with Pool A and Pool B serving as exceptions with three teams.
Defending champions Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Telangana Hockey, and Hockey Himachal make up the teams in Pool A. Hockey Chandigarh, Hockey Bengal and Hockey Madhya Pradesh have been grouped in Pool B. Hockey Association of Odisha, Le Puducherry Hockey, Hockey Rajasthan and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu Hockey will battle it out in Pool C, while previous edition's runners-up Hockey Haryana, Manipur Hockey, Kerala Hockey, and Tripura Hockey bring up the teams in Pool D.
In Pool E, Hockey Bihar, Hockey Jammu & Kashmir, Assam Hockey, and Hockey Arunachal will vie for the top spot. Hockey Punjab, Hockey Maharashtra, Hockey Andhra Pradesh, and Hockey Mizoram will battle in Pool F, while Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu, Hockey Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh Hockey, and Goans Hockey are set to compete in Pool G. The last group; Pool H comprises Delhi Hockey, Hockey Karnataka, Hockey Uttarakhand, and Hockey Gujarat.
Speaking about the playing conditions for the players in Kovilpatti, Tournament Director Rakesh Bhatia said, "The facilities prepared for this tournament are in top class condition for the players. A new turf has been laid out on the pitch, which is in prime condition and will allow the players to perform at their best level. All teams have arrived and settled into their respective accommodation facilities at the venue, and there is excitement all around for the tournament to begin tomorrow."
"This competition is a great platform for the young players to showcase their talent at the National Level. The biggest motivation for the players is to perform well and secure a spot in the National Camp in the coming years, as there are many scouts who are assessing the performance of players in this tournament," he added.
The teams which secure the top spot in their respective pools will advance to the quarterfinal stage, set to begin on May 25, followed by the semifinals on May 27 and the final on May 29.
( 420 Words)