National men’s c’ship returns to Chennai after 42 years

The championship (B division) will be held from January 7 to 20 at two venues — Mayor Radhakrishnan and ICF-Mohammad Shahid Stadium.

The tourney will be held at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium (in picture) and the ICF-Mohammad Shahid Stadium.   -  K. V. Srinivasan

The ninth Hockey India-senior national men’s championship (B division) returns to the city after 42 years, albeit in a different format.

The championship will be held from January 7 to 20 at two venues — Mayor Radhakrishnan and ICF-Mohammad Shahid Stadium.

After Hockey India revived the Nationals in 2011, the first three editions were held as one Nationals (for men and women). It was only in 2014 that ‘A’ and ‘B’ division came into place as HI decided to get more teams also called associate members into its fold.

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When the Nationals were held in 1977 at the then Corporation stadium here with Internationals V. J. Philips, B. P. Govinda, V. Baskaran, Ajit Pal Singh, Harcharan Singh, Ashok Kumar, Surjit Singh and Michael Kindo, all matches were witness to packed stadium.

90-odd matches

This time, there are not many big names (barring India goalkeeper P. R. Sreejesh, who is playing for Tamil Nadu) here, and certainly less buzz. But the 90-odd matches will test the organisational patience.

P. R. Sreejesh will represent Tamil Nadu at the Nationals. Photo: M. Vedhan

 

Forty-one teams, divided into eight groups, will take part in the championship, with the top two from each group making it to the quarterfinals. The top two [finalists] will be promoted to A division.

According to Muneer Mohammad, Technical Director of the Nationals, matches will be played in four quarters for the first time. Former India player B. P. Govinda will be the lone selector.

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