Kovilpatti to host Junior National men’s hockey championship from December 16

The Junior National men’s hockey championship to be held in Kovilpatti from December 16 to 25 is expected to provide a major fillip to the sport.

SDAT hockey turf in Kovilpatti

Thirty teams will compete in the Junior National men’s hockey championship to be held in Kovilpatti.   -  Special Arrangement

Kovilpatti may be a small industrial town in Thoothukudi District famous for groundnut candies and match sticks, but its contribution to hockey has been nothing less than immense.

The State-level tournaments began here as early as 1946 and a hockey stadium was constructed in 1960 with support from Lakshmi Mills. Then, the G. Kuppuswamy memorial tournament ran for 55 years before it was
stopped due to a lack of funds in 1999.

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The sport continues to thrive with the Lakshmi Ammal All-India tournament that completed its 11th edition in 2019. Quite a few players have gone on to represent Tamil Nadu from the region.

The Junior National men’s hockey championship to be held at the artificial turf here from December 16 to 25 is expected to provide a major fillip to the sport. This is the first time that the championship will be held here.

P. Guruchitra Shanmuga Bharathi, secretary of Thoothukudi District Hockey Association, said the Nationals has come at the right time. “It has come at a good time for us with the COVID-19 largely behind us. And moreover, two junior players from Tamil Nadu who are in the current India camp will be playing here. We have conducted a make-shift gallery that could accommodate 5000 people.”

Groupings:

Pool A: Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan
Pool B: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand
Pool C: Haryana, Bengal, Telangana, Tripura
Pool D: Chandigarh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram
Pool E: Punjab, Maharashtra, Kerala, Arunachal
Pool F: Tamil Nadu, Himachal, Jammu & Kashmir; Andaman & Nicobar
Pool G: Delhi, Manipur, LE Puducherry, Gujarat
Pool H: Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Goa.

(The winner from each group makes it to the quarter finals)
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