Anurag Thakur to inaugurate Khelo India U21 Women’s Hockey League on Dec 15

14-12-2021

New Delhi, Dec 14 (UNI) Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur will inaugurate the first edition of the Khelo India U21 Women’s Hockey League here at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on December 15.

The league, which has been designed to give emerging talent an additional opportunity to gain competitive exposure, will be held from December 15 to 21. A total of 14 teams will be vying for honours over the course of seven days.

Organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in collaboration with Hockey India, the first phase of the 14-team league will kick start with a match between Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre, Bhubaneswar and Raja Karan Hockey Academy, Karnal.

The Indian junior team, which is preparing for the FIH Women’s Junior Hockey World Cup, will star as favourites while two Sports Authority of India squads would look to steal a march in the competition.

“This is a great opportunity for players from across the country to showcase their talent against the best teams in the country,” said former India captain Pritam Rani Siwach, an Arjuna Awardee.

“I am sure all teams will want to put their best foot forward, even though they are aware that the India Junior team and the two Sports Authority of India sides can be formidable. The League gives the players the chance to battle with the best sides in a competition in which each match can produce quality hockey," added Siwach, who was bestowed the Dronacharya Award last month.

The second phase of the tournament will be held at the SAI Centre in Lucknow, before the teams move to the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar for the climactic stage.

The teams have been divided into two groups as follows:

Group A: India Juniors, Sports Authority of India B, New Delhi; Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre, Bhubaneswar; Khalsa Hockey Academy, Amritsar; Mumbai Schools Sports Association, Raja Karan Hockey Academy and Him Academy, Vikas Nagar (Himachal Pradesh).

Group B: Sports Authority of India A, New Delhi; Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Bhopal; Har Hockey Academy, Sonipat; Jai Bharat Hockey Academy, Delhi; Pritam Siwach Hockey Academy, Sonipat; Sports Hostel, Bhubaneswar and Delhi Hockey.