The team was picked after the seven-day two camps which was held at the Balewadi Sports Complex, and Pune and at the BK Birla High School grounds Shirgaon recently. In this eight-day championship, Maharashtra are placed in Group H along with Manipur, Gujarat and Le Punducherry.
The only issue in this championship is the surface. “The surface is the only issue, otherwise the team is good and we are sure we will do good,” said Bhore of the side which failed to make it to knock-out stages in the last edition 2019.
“The championship will be played on grass and not astro,” said Bhore who had the team have the feel of the grass for a few days, at the BH High School ground, in Talegaon near Pune before the side departed for the championship,. Conroy Remedios and Nikhil Golellu will accompany the team as coach and manager respectively. Manish S Anand , VP, Hockey Maharashtra in the presence of Vivek Kale, Ankit Govit, Nikhil Jadhav, Rohan Jawale and Shridharan Thamba and Manoj Bhore, secretary Hockey Maharashtra at the Shiv Chattrapati Sports Complex distributed the kits to the players as they left for the championship, on Sunday.
In all there are 24 teams gunning for top honours at the 11th edition of the championship, at the Rajiv Gandhi Mahavidyalaya, Uchana in Jind district, Haryana. With many competitions being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the national-level hockey players around the country are eager to return to a competitive environment and test their skills against the best players in their age group. A good show in this prestigious event will help players grab the attention of the national selectors who will be closely following the tournament.
Defending champions Hockey Odisha expressed confidence stating they are ready for the challenge. “We have prepared well for the tournament and we are hopeful to defend the title. But I am sure we will be challenged by teams like hosts Hockey Haryana, Uttar Pradesh Hockey and Hockey Punjab also will have a good team,” said Bijay Kumar Lakra, coach, Hockey Odisha
Apart from several SOPs laid out by Hockey India, all athletes and officials must also follow physical distancing measures at all locations, except athletes on the field. Hockey Haryana has also appointed Dr. Pradeep Nain and Dr. Amit Kumar as Hygiene Officers who will be present at the venue to monitor the participants’ well-being,” according to Bhore, the secretary Hockey Maharashtra.
The team Kenan D’souza, Ameya Yadav, Pranav Amin, Vansh Shah, Pradeep Reddy (all Mumbai), Tushar Durga – Pune (Cap), Akshay Jadhav, Jay Kale, Deepank Chavan, Pravin Gondole (all Pune), Siddharth Jadhav, Shivam Jadhav (both Sangli), Arjun Hargude, Yashraj Patil (Kolhapur), Gopal Metkarm Rounak Singh (Nanded), Raj Pawar (Akola), Ganesh Gautam (Aurngabad) Conroy Remedios (Coach), Nikhil Golellu (Manager)