NEW DELHI: Hockey India will kick-start the much-awaited National Championships 2021 in March this year, after the pandemic affected the national calendar last year with the majority of the key national level events being cancelled.
This year, however, the domestic competitions will resume in a new, restructured format which vies to maximise athlete participation and develop the game in states, Union territories, institutional units and academies.
Kicking off the season this year will be the 11th Sub Junior Women National Championship 2021 which will be held in Simdega, Jharkhand from 10 March to 18 March. The 11th Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021 will be held in Narwana district in Haryana starting from 17 March to 25 March. This will be the first time both Simdega, Jharkhand & Narwana, Haryana are hosting a national championship.
The inaugural editions of the Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 will be held from 17 March to 26 March and Sub Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021 from 17 March to 24 March at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
This will be followed by the 11th Junior Women National Championship at Simdega, Jharkhand between 03 April to 12 April.
The National Championships will be resuming after a span of one year. In 2020, the 10th Senior Men and Senior Women Championship 2020 (A Division) as well as the 10th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship 2020 (B Division) were held in January and February while the remaining National Championships were cancelled due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are very happy to resume the domestic calendar after the pandemic halted all the sporting events last year," stated Hockey India's president Gyanendro Ningombam.
"The season will begin in an all-new avatar with the restructuring of events for sub-junior, junior and senior national championships for both men and women as well as Hockey India registered State Member Units, Public Sector Units / Departmental Units and Academy Member Units respectively," he added.
Ningombam further stated that members of the Hockey India selection committee will be closely observing the talent at these championships and wished all the athletes the best in their preparations. "While hundreds of talented players missed out on showcasing their performance last year due to the pandemic, I am hopeful they have will be able to excel at the forthcoming events and perform their best. Hockey India selectors will be closely observing these nationals in order to induct new talent into the national programs," he said.
Hygiene Officers at each venue of each National Championship
While following Hockey India's SOPs is a must for all participating teams, tournament officials as well as host states, Hockey India has laid emphasis on ensuring guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as well as respective state governments too should be followed by everyone who are a part of the forthcoming National Championships.
Ningombam said: "There is strict emphasis on host states, participating teams and officials involved in the national championships to follow all the protocols and SOPs laid out not just by Hockey India but also the MHA as well as respective state governments."The protocols are different in each state and it is important these SOPs are followed to the T to ensure players' safety. In order to ensure all these parameters are kept in check and all protocols are met at each of the National Championships, we have instructed all state members to appoint a hygiene officer at each of the National Championships to assist with implementation of the SOPs."
2021 Hockey India National Championships schedule
· 11th Sub Junior Women National Championship 2021, Simdega, Jharkhand, 10 to 18 March (Click here to view the match schedule)
· 11th Sub Junior Men National Championship 2021, Narwana, Haryana, 17 to 25 March (Click here to view the match schedule)
· 1st Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, 17 to 26 March (Click here to view the match schedule)
· 1st Sub Junior Women Academy National Championship 2021, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, 17 to 24 March (Click here to View the match schedule)
· 11th Junior Women National Championship 2021, Simdega, Jharkhand, 3 to 12 April (Click here to view the match schedule)
The dates for the remaining national championships for 2021 will also be announced once there is confirmation from all participating members.