Hard work ahead for Indian hockey

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/H/Hockeyindia.jpg' class='caption'> Indian hockey seniors will be at the Champions Trophy in Holland and the junior team is off to Poland for a seven-nation tournament.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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New Delhi:

India has lots to look forward to from hockey in the next few days. The seniors will be at the Champions Trophy in Holland and the junior team is off to Poland for a seven-nation tournament. The junior Indian hockey team has just ended a 22-day conditioning and training camp in Bangalore ahead of leaving for Poland. "Our team is pretty good. Most of the players have experience of 30-35 matches. I feel our forward line will do its job," said Prabodh Tirkey, Captain, Jr Hockey Team. The track record of India's junior players in the recent past suggests that they are surely the favourites. India are the current junior world champions. They won that title in Australia in 2001. They had finished second in 1997 at the same event in England. And this year the team has won the under-19 four-nation tournament in Malaysia. They are also the Asian sub-junior champions, besides winning a 4 nations event in Egypt. A total of 11 players from the junior world cup squad are now playing in the senior team. Clearly that's incentive enough for a good performance. "Our juniors are coming back to the senior team. Some of them are really doing well, like Gagan Ajit Singh and Dilip Tirkey. After 2001 World Cup victory they are in the senior team, with our senior team doing very well after this recent performance. I think the juniors in the team have started doing well and with the blend of youth and experience this national team will fetch the right result at right time," said Jothi Kumaran, Honorary Secretary General, IHF. The week-long tournament in Poland is being looked at as a crucial build-up for India to defend its world championship title in 2005 to be held in Holland. But the coach isn't making any big promises right now. Assured Harinder Singh, Chief Coach, Jr Hockey Team: "Every Indian thinks we have to be on the podium but being a coach I'll take it match to match and definitely we will not disappoint you." So it's a big fortnight for Indian hockey, with the senior team attempting to win their first Champions Trophy title and the juniors out to do their best in Poland.

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