Domestic competitions will have a new look from next year onwards after Hockey India announced it’s restructuring various events including the national championships to maximise athlete participation and develop the games in states, union territories, institutional units and academy members Also Read - Just The Beginning of my Career, Need to Improve on Many Aspects: India Hockey Midfielder Vivek Prasad

“The restructured events include the sub-junior, junior and senior national championships for both men and women of HI’s registered state member units, public sector units, departmental units and academy member units respectively,” a statement from the national sports body read. Also Read - We Have Identified a Few Areas That Need Fine-Tuning: Midfielder Nilakanta Sharma

As per the new structure, an athlete will only be eligible to represent his/her team in only one of the events. Also Read - Great to Have a Balance of Youth And Experienced Players: India Defender Deep Grace Ekka

Additionally, an athlete will only be allowed to participate in one of the age-group categories i.e. sub junior or junior or senior to ensure more participation in country’s top level domestic competitions.

“As part of the qualification process for the state member units to participate in the Hockey India National Championships, it will be mandatory for each State Member to conduct their State Level Championships in each category i.e. Sub Junior/ Junior / Senior – Men and Women prior to the annual National Championships,” the statement added.

HI president Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad said the decision will help in the further growth of the game. “Over the past decade, Hockey India has meticulously worked towards the revival of the sport in the country and has successfully built a domestic circuit that has in-turn helped produce match-winning players for the national teams (both Junior and Senior men and women). Moving ahead, the Hockey India Executive Board has taken this decisive measures that will help grow the sport further and maximise player participation in the Annual National Championships across various events & categories,” Mushtaque said.

The previous system of hosting national championships in A and B division for various age-groups has been ended.

“The previous system of A and B Division will no longer prevail but instead we have categorised the annual National Championships where all state members units will compete in sub-junior, junior and senior age-groups for men and women while all PSUs and Departmental Units will come under a separate category and compete among each other in junior and senior category (men and women) and a third category that is exclusively for Academy Member Units who will compete in the sub-junior and junior national championships (men and women),” he said.

Tournament policy and guidelines, on the other hand, will continue to remain the same and every National Championship event will be played on a league-cum-knock out basis, with pools depending on the final numbers of teams participating and will be conducted strictly as per latest FIH Rules and regulations.

The classification format and eligibility ranking of the participating teams in the 11th Hockey India National Championships 2021 will be taken from the final results of the last Hockey India National Championship conducted prior to 31 December 2020.