Hockey India have decided to popularize the sport in different parts of the country and for that, they have selected Chennai as the venue for the Asian Champions Trophy scheduled later this year.
The tournament will start on August 3 and will run till August 12 and will be more like a practice tournament before the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. The Asian Games is of prime importance as the winners will get a direct entry into the Paris Olympics next year. So this tournament right before the Asian Games definitely serves a major purpose.
Chennai last hosted an international tournament back in 2007 when the prestigious Asia Cup was held there. The venue proved to be lucky for India as they defeated Korea 7-2 in the finals to clinch the trophy.
Welcoming the initiative, Honourable Minister of Youth Welfare and Sports Development Thiru Udhayanidhi Stalin said, “It is indeed a great pleasure and honour to host the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu which was once the capital of hockey in South India with many reputed domestic and international events being held here.”
He also highlighted how the tournament may revive the love for hockey and many youngsters may once again get motivated and pick up hockey as a career. “I believe hosting the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 here will further revive the sport in the region and watching top teams in Asia will also inspire the younger generation to take up hockey as a career,” he concluded.
Similarly Hockey India president DIlip Tirkey also shared his gratitude and hopes that people will fill up the stadiums and show great enthusiasm for the upcoming tournament in August. He also thanked Udhayanidhi Stalin for his constant support which made this possible.
“On behalf of Hockey India, I thank Shri Udhayanidhi Stalin, Hon’ble Minister of Youth Welfare and Sports Development for his support in hosting this prestigious tournament in Chennai. I had the honour of interacting with him during the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar-Rourkela and it was very encouraging to see his enthusiasm and passion for hockey. I also thank AHF for this opportunity,” Dilip Tirkey stated.
He went on to share his experiences from his playing days at Chennai and believes that people will flood the stadium and support their favourite players. It has been a while since we had all the top teams in Asia come to India and participate here. I have very fond memories of playing in Chennai and we hope they will all turn up in large numbers to support the participating teams,” Dilip Tirkey stated.
Overall, the tournament will be for the players and the coach to try out different tactics and formations before the all-important Asian Games in September. It will be very important for the team to get into a winning momentum ahead of the big event.