Khelo India Youth Games: U.P, Odisha, Punjab start favourites in men’s U-18 qualifiers

Teams from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha and Punjab start as favourites in the Men’s U-18 qualifiers of the Khelo India Youth Games 2022 set to begin at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.

Twelve teams will fight for the top places in the tournament, which will take place from Dec 20 to 30, 2022. The top eight teams, including hosts Madhya Pradesh, from the qualifiers will make it to the 5th Khelo India Youth Games 2022 which will take place from February 4 to 10, 2023 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.

The round-robin league stage will see six teams in each pool. In Pool A, Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Hockey Haryana, Hockey Punjab, Hockey Chandigarh, Manipur Hockey and Hockey Andhra Pradesh will vie for places in the quarter-finals.

Pool B comprises Hockey Jharkhand, Hockey Association of Odisha, Dadra & Nagar Haveli And Daman & Diu Hockey, Hockey Bihar, Hockey Arunachal and Hockey Madhya Pradesh, who will battle it out for places in the quarterfinals.

The top four teams from each group will move on to the quarterfinals, to be held on Dec 27. The semifinals will be played on Dec 29 and the final on Dec 30.

Speaking about the upcoming event, Dilip Tirkey, President, Hockey India, said, “A player wants to be on the field every day because the more you play, the better you get, and there is no other alternative to this. The upcoming KIYG qualifier tournament is giving them yet another opportunity to showcase their talent and hone their skill. I am therefore really excited for these players and would like to take this opportunity to wish them luck for their respective matches.”

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