Chandigarh:India will be up against three top international teams - Germany, Holland and New Zealand - in the first edition of the Punjab Gold Cup invitational hockey tournament at the floodlit Sector-42 hockey stadium from January 31.
Star attraction of the tournament will be Olympic champions Germany and European champions Holland. New Zealand is ranked 7th in the world while India is the lowest ranked, at 11th.
The 10-day tournament is being organised by the Punjab Sports department.
"This tournament is unique as it is being organised by a state government instead of the sports federation. The tournament will boost our national sport and create interest among youngsters," Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the sports minister, said on Sunday.
Flanked by former Indian Hockey team captain and now Punjab's Director (Sports), Pargat Singh, Badal said the government wanted to bring more international sporting events to Punjab to attract youth to sports.
Badal said nearly 2,500 hockey players from across Punjab and school children from all districts will be brought to Chandigarh at the state government's expense to witness the matches.