Hockey Correspondent

Chennai: A new competition christened the Asian Champions Trophy will come into the calendar of the Asian Hockey Federation next year.

The event suggested by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was accepted by the AHF Council at its meeting on Saturday.

This was announced on Sunday at a press briefing by Tan Sri P. Alagendra, Secretary-General, AHF.

India will host the tournament for three years starting next year for the top six teams of the continent.

Mr. Alagendra explained that the Asian countries needed more competitions to improve and this prompted the AHF to agree to the proposal. He also announced the inclusion of hockey as a discipline for the forthcoming Asian Indoor Games to be held at Macau from October 26 to November 3. Eight teams are expected to participate in the tournament.

Junior-level events

The meeting also approved several junior-level competitions including one for under-14 boys’ in Gwalior and for girls’ in Dhaka.

The AHF junior tournament (under-21) for men, scheduled to be held in Oman but postponed owing to a cyclone in August, will now be held at Muscat from January 12 to 22, 2008.

Mr. Alagendra said that the next Asia Cup qualifiers for the World Cup would be held in 2009 at a venue to be decided later.

The top four from this tournament would form a Super Four team from which an all-star team would be formed.

The AHF has a proposal to engage the Asian all-star team with other continental teams with an aim to improve the quality and content of Asian hockey. The details are being worked out.

The council also endorsed the view to increase the number of member countries. Qatar, Mongolia and East Timor, are expected to come into the rolls shortly.

Answering questions, K.P.S. Gill, President, IHF, said that India had indeed made a bid for the Champions Trophy and the decision of the FIH was awaited in this regard.

He said the award announced for the Indian team — Rs. 1,000 for each goal scored and Rs. 2,000 deducted for every goal conceded — would be reviewed shortly after arriving at the final tally.

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