The prestigious tournament will see 24 teams vie for top honours.

A total of 24 teams will vie for top honours at the 1st Hockey India Sub Junior Men Academy National Championship 2021 which began in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh on Monday. After six days of pool matches, the quarter-finals will be played on 10 October, the semi-finals will be held on 12 October whereas the medal matches are scheduled for 13 October. 

Head Coach for the sub-junior category at the Naval Tata Academy – Jamshedpur said this tournament is a great opportunity for the academies to increase the talent pool. “It is great that Hockey India has now started an Inter Academy Nationals for the sub-junior category. Now that the first edition is kicking off, the academies can also focus on growing the talent pool in the sub-junior category and a prestigious tournament like this will give the players a very good exposure,” he said. 

Speaking about Naval Tata Academy – Jamshedpur’s chances in the tournament, he said, “We are grouped in Pool A with some good teams. We have been working hard for this tournament and our main focus right now is to do well in the pool stage and qualify for the knockouts.”

Meanwhile, Rashid Aziz Khan, head coach of SAI-Academy who is grouped in Pool E said this tournament will be a good platform for the players to showcase their talent and go back with an enriching experience. He remarked, “This tournament will provide a very good experience for the players. We held the trials at KIIT University for which players came from different parts of the state. We selected 25 players for the camp and had good preparations. “

“We arrived in Bhopal on Friday and we are staying in SAI Centre where the tournament is being held. Like every other team, we too have come to win and will put up our best performance. Since this is the first tournament in this category, we have not had an opportunity to see the teams but I am aware that Dhyan Chand Academy has been preparing for this tournament well in Lucknow and they will put up a good fight.”

On the other hand, the team from SGPC Academy from Amritsar, Punjab is high on motivation after closely watching Punjab players in the Indian team return home with a medal from Tokyo Olympics.

“Our team is very high on motivation. They have seen these Olympians from Punjab closely and they all are very inspired by them. They want to use this platform to showcase their talent. We had a good 25 days camp. Our preparations were good. This team is supported by the golden temple in Amritsar and they have ensured that the players have all the best facilities. We are confident of making the quarterfinal here,” stated coach Prem Singh of SGPC Academy. 

The participating teams include Berar Academy (Vidarbha) Amravati, Naval Tata Academy – Jamshedpur and Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance Centre in Pool A, while Pool B features Bhai Behlo Academy Bhagta, Namdhari XI, Olympian Vivek Singh Academy. Pool C features Cheema Academy, Mumbai Schools Sports Association, Raja Karan Academy and Pool D features Citizen Hockey XI, Mata Sahib Kaur Academy Jarkhar – Ludhiana and Roundglass Punjab Hockey Club Academy. 

Pool E will include Dhyan Chand Academy, Markandeshwar Academy, SAI- Academy and Pool F will feature Ghumanhera Riser’s Academy, Malwa Academy Hanumangarh and SGPC Hockey Academy. Pool G will include HAR Hockey Academy, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Tamil Nadu Hockey Academy while Pool H will see HIM Academy, Jai Bharat Academy and Vadipatti Raja Academy vie for honours.  

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