The 93rd edition of the MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament will be played between August 29 and September 8 at Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Egmore, Chennai. Ten teams, divided into two pools with five teams each, will be in the fray for the title, with defending champion Indian Oil Corporation Ltd beginning its campaign against Indian Army on Saturday.
The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the semifinals, which will be played on September 7 with the final iset to be played on September 8. Three new teams – Punjab National Bank, Hockey United of Tamil Nadu (HUT) and Indian Air Force will replace Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC), Mumbai Hockey Association and Chennai Hockey Association.
This year, the matches will be played in four quarters of 15 minutes each, unlike the previous format which had two halves of 35 minutes each. This decision was taken after International Hockey Federation's (FIH’s) new rule standardised the four quarters format across all the national hockey tournaments for its member nations last year.
After an increase in the prize money by ₹1 lakh this year, the winner and runner-up is set to receive ₹6 lakhs and ₹3.5 lakhs, respectively. There will also be individual awards for best forward, best midfielder, best goalkeeper, the most promising player of the tournament and man of the match of the finals.
The tournament, which originally started as the Madras Challenge Cup in 1901, has been a platform for the country’s Olympians and World Cuppers to showcase their talent.
“This tournament has become a regular and noted fixture in the hockey calendar of the country. For Murugappa, our focus has been to keep the level of competition high and to constantly improve the player experience at the tournament. We are happy to see the top teams and top players from across the country participating in this event,” Arun Murugappan, Managing Director of Parry Enterprises India Ltd, said.
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