Competitive hockey with a national flavour will return to the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium when the prestigious Madras Cricket Club-Murugappa Gold Cup invitation hockey tournament goes on board on October 1, featuring 10 top outfits, headed by the defending champion, Air India.

Mr. Arun Murugappan, Managing Director, Parry Enterprises and Organising Secretary, briefed the media on Monday over the salient features of the event, which is reckoned as the best tournament in this side of the Vindyas.

The 10 teams are divided into two pools of five each, and the top two from each pool will make the semi-final.

Mr. Arun Murugappan announced that the winner would take home a cash prize of Rs.1,50,000, while the runner up Rs.1,00,000. As the means to attract more spectators there will be a daily lucky number draw offering special prizes, including a cycle, for the winner.

Apart from this, there will be prizes from the semi-final stage and awards for the player of the tournament, best forward, goalkeeper and the most promising player. Doordarhan will telecast live the final on October 11.

Former Olympian Muneer Sait and Vijay Kumar, both members of the Organising Committee, spoke about the importance of continuity even though the national stars who will be touring Canada are unavailable to take part.

Wealth of talent

They hoped the teams chosen have enough wealth of talent to keep the competition intense right through. R.S. Shelar of Gujarat has been named as the Tournament Director, and will be assisted by five outstation umpires.

Welcoming the media, Mr.T.G. Thyagarajan, President, Madras Cricket Club, expressed happiness over the Club’s association with the Murugappa Group in hosting a huge event with a shining history and tradition. He also spoke of the role of MCC in hosting major competitions in tennis, billiards, snooker, badminton and squash every year.

Defending champion, Air India is grouped in Pool A with IOB, the local league champion, Karnataka XI, BPCL, ONGC, while Indian Oil Corporation, the runner up last year, heads Pool B with Army XI, Mumbai XI, Indian Railways, and Punjab National Bank. This is the first time that PNB is taking part in the tournament.

The event is set for a traditional start on Wednesday with the match between MCC and The Hindu HC starting at 6 p.m. under floodlights.

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