Four age-group national hockey championships will take place this year at the newly-built Birsa Munda Stadium. This decision has been made to give domestic players a feel of the state-of-the-art facility, which jointly hosted the men’s World Cup along with the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar last month.
The four tournaments are the Junior Women National Championship (April 13-23), Junior Men National Championship (April 28-May 8), Sub-junior Women National Championship (May 13-23) and Sub-junior Men National Championship (May 28-June 7).
The Senior Men National Championship 2023 will be held in Madurai, Tamil Nadu from May 3 to 14.
Hockey India president and former captain Dilip Tirkey said, ”We have taken a major step by signing a multi-year contract with FanCode, who have over 50 million users. They will show all the National Championship matches live in India and the Indian sub-continent.”
Tirkey also added that they wanted to introduce video referral at the domestic level so that players understand the process early in their careers. The aim is to provide these budding stars with the same feel of playing an international match in India.
Starting with the Senior Women National Championship scheduled to begin on February 15 in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, each venue will have a three-camera setup to capture and relay the action live. Matches will be held on the same lines as international matches with ”Player of The Match” award being given away for every match.
Hockey India secretary-general Bholanath Singh said, ”This is the first time HI has taken these kinds of measures to lift the profile of the National Championships and give it a uniform look and feel.
Singh added that all the costs for these new initiatives will be borne by Hockey India, and they will not burden their host member unit with extra costs. The federation will also provide the cash award for the “Player of the Match.” The umpires officiating the national championships will be provided radios for on-field communication. The federation is also working on introducing video referral in the nationals.