TN men's hockey team to start preparatory camp from October 25

Head coach Charles Dixon is confident that the team will do better at the Nationals this time around. They had reached the quarterfinals in 2020.

(FILE PHOTO): Head coach Charles Dixon is confident that the team will do better this time around.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Tamil Nadu men's hockey team will start its preparatory camp on Monday at the SDAT-Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium for the Senior National Championships in Pune from December 11 to 22.

Head coach Charles Dixon is confident that the team will do better this time around. They had reached the quarterfinals in 2020 in Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh).

"We have picked 35 players now, and from that, we will select the final 18-member squad in the first week of December. Ours is a good mix of juniors and seniors. This time all the top sides such as Indian Railways, Petroleum Sports Promotion Board, Air India, and Services are not playing as they will be competing in the inter-institutional tournament. Hockey India rules state that players can take part in only one Nationals in a calendar year. That way, we have a good chance among all the states. We are capable of making it to the final," said Charles in a chat with Sportstar here on Sunday.

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In between, players from the Tamil Nadu team will be selected and sent for the Nehru Gold Cup (November 14 to 23 in Hyderabad) and the inter-district tournament (November 10 to 14 in Thoothukudi) before it assembles back for the camp.

Charles' only worry is that players are not match-fit as there has been no activity due to the Covid-19 lockdown, and the stadium opened only recently. "It has been a tough time for players in the last five months. We have to work harder in the given time. Our boys are keen. Individually they are doing fine. Before getting to the turf, we will have a yo-yo test, shuttle run and endurance test," he said.

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