Four junior Hockey team captains including Indias Vivek Sagar Prasad, who are currently participating in the FIH Odisha Hockey Mens Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar, said that experience of playing ‘Hockey5s’ made them more valiant on the field.
Vivek Sagar Prasad, Facundo Zarate (Argentina), Gracjan Jarzynski (Poland), and Akhimullah Anuar (Malaysia) played Hockey5s in the Youth Olympic Games staged in 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The format of Hockey5s, which, as the name suggests, is played with 5 athletes per team. It is particularly known for its non-stop end-to-end action, its higher number of goals on average, and its shorter match duration (2 x 10 minutes).
“I have very fond memories of the Youth Olympic Games in 2018. I was quite overwhelmed when I arrived in Buenos Aires as it was my first experience at a multi-discipline event, especially as the team Captain. It was a great learning yet very enjoyable experience playing the Hockey5s format and we ended up on the podium with the Silver medal. It was undoubtedly one of the best tournaments of my formative years in international hockey,” India’s captain Vivek Sagar Prasad said.
Poland’s captain Gracjan Jarzynski recalled the experience of Youth Games.
“Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires was a fantastic experience for me and my teammates. It was a great opportunity to play against teams that we have not played before like India, Malaysia, or Argentina. Here in Bhubaneswar, we meet again — just on a bigger pitch. I believe that playing Hockey5s helped me to improve my hitting technique, elimination, and defending skills,” he said.
“We have understood the benefits of Hockey5s in countries where hockey is in the early stages of its growth for some time now, with the smaller pitch size, simplified rules, and less players, meaning hockey is more accessible to start playing. But to now have evidence of the role Hockey5s can play in the elite hockey pathway of athletes in established hockey countries such as India, Argentina, Malaysia, Canada, and Poland is fantastic and shows the crossover in skills between the shorter version of our sport and the full-size format,” said FIH Sports Director and double Olympian Jon Wyatt.
In order to further boost the development of hockey globally through Hockey5s, FIH has created an FIH Hockey5s World Cup — with the inaugural edition planned in 2024 in Oman — and, in the near future, a Hockey5s World Tour. The ‘FIH Hockey5s Lausanne 2022’ event is scheduled on 4-5 June next year and will involve, amongst others, the men’s teams of India, Malaysia, and Poland.