The Asian Champions Trophy marked the return of an international hockey tournament to Chennai after a 16-year recess. Chennai’s previous taste of a multi-nation tournament was the memorable Asia Cup win of 2007.
The 2023 Asian Champions Trophy carried a similar fervour as India once again triumphed against top Asian sides on home soil.
India was dominant throughout the competition, except for a tame draw against Japan, scoring 29 goals, which included 16 penalty corners.
Skipper Harmanpreet Singh top-scored for India with nine goals, including a penalty stroke in the comeback win against Malaysia in the final.
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Sportstar’s on-the-ground hockey reporters K Keerthivasan, Aashin Prasad and Uthra Ganesan joined Lavanya Lakshminarayanan in a chat about the tournament, India’s preparation ahead of the Asian Games and more.
The team shares its views on the tournament build-up, the crowds that attended the event and the spectacle as a whole.
The team says that the support from the crowds wasn’t restricted to just the home team. Malaysia and Korea had a fair share of support during their games too.
Uthra and Aashin weigh in on the playing conditions during the tournament and the challenges the visiting team as well as the home team faced in one of the hottest recorded Augusts in the city.
The team also provided some clarity on the entire FIH penalty corner rule change saga that had hockey fans confused over the last month. The FIH president announced the rolling back of the rules in a letter sent a day before the final.
The team discusses the key takeaways from the tournament for the hosts and the areas where the team needs to improve to take the fight to teams like Belgium and Germany during international events.
The reporters also spoke about their favourite games from the tournament apart from the blockbuster final between India and Malaysia.
The next stop for the Indian hockey team is the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China. The team discusses India’s chances at the tournament and the possible squad composition ahead of the event.
Another important point discussed is the infrastructure around the city, though the event was held seamlessly in the newly laid Mayor Radhakrishnan stadium, and the necessity to improve the surrounding infrastructure and facilities of fans was discussed to make Chennai an important centre for hockey in India.
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