New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) India will play Cambodia and Singapore respectively in the opening matches of the boy’s and girl’s hockey competitions at the Asian Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers 2018 which will begin on April 25 in Bangkok.Also Read - International Flights: Air India Announces Fresh Flight Schedule Between India and Thailand | Here’s How to Book Tickets
While Indian boys are grouped with Korea, Japan, Hong Kong China and Cambodia in Pool A, the girls will take on Korea, Thailand and Singapore in Pool B as per the schedule announced by the Asian Hockey Federation yesterday. Also Read - As Canada Lifts Advisory Against Non-Essential Foreign Travel, What Does it Mean For Indians?
The five-day event is for players between the age group of 15 to 18 years and the tournament along with the Youth Olympic Games hockey competition will follow the futuristic Hockey 5’s format. Also Read - Video: Cargo Ship 'MV Zim Kingston' Catches Fire, Spews Toxic Gas Off Canada's Pacific Coast | WATCH
Speaking about the Indian teams’ prospects at the Qualifiers, Hockey India’s High Performance Director David John said, By winning this tournament, teams become eligible for the Youth Olympic Games, so we have to go there to win. It will be challenging because it’s Hockey 5s and the nature of the game can be quite unpredictable.
“Though Hockey India is promoting five-a-side hockey through its annual national championship event, the players need more exposure in this format. The teams are training hard under Jude Felix (for boys) and Baljeet Singh Saini (for girls) at the Agra five-a-side hockey facility.” Hockey was introduced at the Youth Olympic Games in the 2010 edition. The inaugural edition was an outdoor hockey event, in which Australia won the gold medal, defeating Pakistan 2-1.
In 2014, Hockey 5’s was introduced, and Australia again emerged victorious, beating Canada 3-2 on penalty strokes after a 3-3 draw at the end of regulation time.
The girl’s editions were won by Netherlands in 2010 and China in 2014.
John further the tournament will give the youngsters good international exposure ahead of the Junior World Cup qualifiers.
The qualifiers in Bangkok will give opportunity to the junior players to play an international tournament and see where they stand among the Asian competitors,” he said.
“If we win in Asia and qualify for the Youth Olympic Games then it gives us an opportunity to compare this age group to other countries and assess where we stand,” John added.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.