DHAKA: The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Monday announced Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, as title sponsor of the Men’s Asia Cup 2017, which will be hosted by the Bangladesh Hockey Federation.The 10th edition of the quadrennial event will take place at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, returning to Bangladesh for the first time since 1985. The tournament will take place from October 11 to 22, and will be titled the ‘Hero Asia Cup 2017’.
The New Delhi-headquartered Hero MotoCorp is one of the biggest global supporters for the development of hockey through its long-term association with the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Speaking of this partnership, Pawan Munjal, chairman, managing director and chief executive officer, Hero MotoCorp, said: “At Hero MotoCorp, we aim to build a culture of sportsmanship and team spirit among the youth across the world through our various global sports associations. We have a successful ongoing association with the FIH, and we are now glad to associate with the Asian Hockey Federation. I am sure our Title Sponsorship of the 10th Men’s Hockey Asia Cup will play the role of an enabler in taking the sport to new audiences. I wish all the participating teams the best of luck and look forward to a magnificent tournament.”
Introduced in 1982, the inaugural Men’s Asia Cup was won by Pakistan who also won the next two editions in 1985 and 1989. Since then, India (2003, 2007) and Korea (1993, 1999, 2009 and 2013) have also been champions in the nine editions played so far.
The tournament will witness stiff competition among the top performing teams from across Asia with big stakes at play, the biggest incentive being a direct ticket for the winning team to the World Cup which is scheduled to take place in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16, 2018.
This year, the premier continental tournament will feature host nation Bangladesh along with China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Oman and Pakistan.
India is the top ranked team amongst the competing teams at 6th position in the latest FIH Hero World Rankings, while Korea, the current title holders is ranked 13th in the world. World number 12 Malaysia, riding high on an excellent performance in the recent Hockey World League Semi-Final in London, and world number 14 Pakistan round up the mix of teams.
AHF president Prince Abdullah Ahmad Shah was pleased to confirm Hero MotoCorp coming on board as title sponsors of the tournament and Hero’s support as the lead partner of Asian Hockey Federation.
He said: “We are delighted to announce this agreement with a partner of the caliber of Hero MotoCorp, one of India’s most successful businesses and an organization that has shown extraordinary support for the sport over a number of years. This is a milestone for hockey in Asia, and a vital step forward on the ambitious path the AHF is following to promote, grow and professionalize our sport.”
AHF CEO Tayyab Ikram added: “The cooperation with a global player and premier brand of Hero MotoCorp’s stature is a great success reflecting the AHF’s efforts over the last two years to take the sport to new heights in Asia. The Hero Asia Cup in Dhaka will showcase our best athletes to a global audience through our media rights partnership with the FIH, and I am looking forward to a fantastic event and thrilling match action.”
BHF president and Chief of Air Staff of Bangladesh Air Force Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar, BBP, ndc, acsc said: “I am extremely happy to be the part of organizing the biggest hockey tournament in Asia, the Hero Asia Cup Dhaka 2017. I assure BHF will put all-out effort to stage the event in an outstanding manner. We are hopeful that jointly with AHF, we will be able to present an exciting and successful tournament to the millions of hockey lovers around the world. I wish every success for the Hero Asia Cup Dhaka 2017.”