With an eye on the title, an upbeat Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team left for the highly anticipated Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman on Friday from the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru.
India has been grouped in pool A along with nemesis Pakistan, Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei, while Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan will form pool B of the tournament which is scheduled to take place from May 23 to June 1, 2023. The team led by Uttam Singh and vice-captained by Boby Singh Dhami will be riding high on confidence following their outstanding victory at the 10th Sultan of Johor Cup.
Reflecting the team’s excitement ahead of the tournament, Captain Uttam Singh said, “We have been looking forward to this tournament, especially after working so hard over the past few months. With the Senior India team also camping in SAI, Bengaluru, we were able to play some high-intensity matches against them which has helped us in our preparations.”
“Also, winning the Sultan of Johor Cup last year has certainly boosted our confidence and we are now excited to play against some of the top teams in Asia,” he added.
He further emphasized that the team has a good mix of experienced players which will give them an edge over the other teams.
“Quite a few of us in the squad have gained good international exposure over the past three to four years with some of us also making our Senior Team debut. The experiences from these matches will hold us in good stead and also help us guide the new players in the squad in crunch situations,” Uttam said.
The Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 is a crucial competition for the participants as it will serve as the qualifying event for the forthcoming FIH Junior Men’s World Cup 2023, which is set to be played in Malaysia in December this year. While Malaysia will qualify by virtue of being the hosts, the top-3 finishers in the Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 will qualify for the prestigious quadrennial event.
“The tournament is of vital importance for us as it will provide us the chance to qualify for the prestigious FIH Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup which will take place later this year. Backed by good preparations, we are going there with an aim to win the title and qualify,” he said.
On May 24, India will play their first match of the tournament against Chinese Taipei.
Fans around the world can view Men’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 matches on Watch.Hockey for free. (ANI)