Sub jr women’s hockey nationals: Haryana look to defend title


Haryana will be looking to defend their title at the 11th Hockey India Sub Junior Women’s National Championship 2021 which will be held from March 10 to 18 in Simdega district in Jharkhand.

Haryana, who are among the favourites to win the title, won in 2019 following a thrilling final against Madhya Pradesh. Jharkhand, who are in Pool B, and Odisha in Pool C are also expected to go far in the championship. Madhya Pradesh, meanwhile, will be looking to go one better than they did in 2019.

Haryana, who are in Pool A along with Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, were upbeat about their chances of retaining the trophy.

“We had a memorable outing last time (in 2019). The tournament was held in Haryana and the girls rose to the occasion to perform exceedingly well. So many players made a mark, including forward Deepika, who currently plays for the Indian junior women’s team. We are confident of putting up a good show once again. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, training was challenging but we have come well prepared thanks to the support shown by Hockey Haryana and Hockey India,” said coach Kuldeep Siwach.

A total of 22 teams, with over 400 players as well as coaching and support staff, will be in Simdega for the prestigious tournament which will be closely watched by national selectors. After five days of pool matches, the quarterfinals will be played on March 15. The semi-finals and the final will be held on March 17 and 18, respectively.

Apart from several Standard Operating Procedures laid out by Hockey India, all athletes and officials need to have the Aarogya Setu app on their devices. They must also follow physical distancing measures at all locations, except when the athletes are on the field.

Jharkhand have also appointed Dr Vivek Kishore and Dr Pankaj Kumar as Hygiene Officers who will be present at the venue to monitor the participants’ well-being.