New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) India Under-18 men’s team are grouped with South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong China and Cambodia in Pool A while the eves will take on Korea, Thailand and Singapore in Pool B at the mens and womens Asian Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers, beginning from April 25 in Thailand, it was announced on Thursday
The five-day hockey 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 five’s format.
The men’s team will play their first match against Cambodia on the opening day while the eves will begin their campaign against Singapore.
Speaking about the prospects at the Qualifiers, Hockey India’s High Performance Director David John said: “With 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 their annual national championship event, the players need more exposure in this format.
” However, the teams are training hard under Jude Felix (for Men) and Baljeet Singh Saini (for Women) at the Agra five-a-side hockey facility. We have 21 players in the camp but after selections on 23 March 2018, the group will be pruned down to 12 players in each team which includes three standbys,” he added.
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 standard time finish. The Women’s edition was won by the Netherlands in 2010 and China in 2014.