IHF Nationals to be postponed

The Indian Hockey Federation’s National Championship, due to begin here on Thursday, is likely to be postponed to early June following a clash of events.

Several key tournaments are scheduled to be played over the next four weeks up North as well as in Chennai, and with many players and unit teams preferring to participate in them, the Karnataka State Hockey Association was left with little choice but to stage the Nationals at a later date.

“Delhi and Lucknow will be hosting two tournament this month and some of the top players are expected to take part in them,” KSHA secretary K Krishnamurthy told Deccan Herald. “We tried our best to rearrange the schedule but we couldn’t. We’ll be having another round of discussion with IHF, but I don’t think the Nationals is likely to take place. In all probability, the event will be staged in end May or early June.”

While it may be bad news for hockey lovers in the State, they still have a chance to rejoice as the prestigious Super Division League is expected to go ahead without a hitch later this month with most of the top teams in the fray. The Super Division too appeared to be caught under scheduling problems with the inter-Petroleum event slated to begin in Chennai next month, but with KSHA obliging to the oil firms’ needs, the event will begin as scheduled on March 25.

“The biggest worry for us the was inter-Petroleum meet from April 1-5 in Chennai. Three top teams -- BPCL, IOCL and ONGC -- are oil firms. We agreed to schedule their matches after April 7 and they confirmed their participation. While the loss of Nationals hurts us, at least the Super Division is going to take place without much problems.

“Most of the top players in the country play in the clubs that would be turning up for the Super Division. I’m sure the fans here will embrace it as they’ve always done,” added Krishnamurthy.

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