Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], October 22 (ANI): Nine teams will fight it out to lift the trophy at the inaugural Hockey India senior women inter-department national championship 2021 that starts on Saturday.
Six days of pool games will be followed by the semi-finals and final, to be played on October 31.
The tournament is one of several national-level competitions available to players across the country now, increasing the pool as well as encouraging more players into the sport. Sashastra Seema Bal coach, Pradeep Singh lauded the decision to launch the tournament.
"It is a well-known fact that more competitions will always help young players develop better and faster," Pradeep Singh said in a Hockey India release.
"Women's hockey is going through a surge right now, and the more the tournaments the more encouragement for players to stay in the game," he added.
Pradeep further lauded the growth of such competitions for the women's game. "A lack of opportunity is usually the death knell for players at a young age."
"But thanks to the increase in national level tournaments of this sort, players can aspire for more, get exposure to competition and even get better jobs. All of which will encourage them to stay in the game," he said.
"This tournament is a huge message to departments across the country from the hockey fraternity. We hope it will open more job opportunities for players, encourage other departments to also create women hockey teams, provide players with platforms to showcase their skills and hopefully get an opportunity to get called for the national camp," Rajesh Kumar, coach CRPF said.
The participating teams are divided into two pools. Teams in Pool A are, Sports Authority of India, Steel Plants Sports Board, UCO Bank women's Hockey Academy, Defence Accounts Sports Control Board and Railway Sports Promotion Board.
Pool B includes Central Reserve Police Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Central Civil Services Cultural and Sports Board and Tamil Nadu Police.
Sports Authority of India and Defence Accounts Sports Control Board will kick off the tournament on Saturday.
The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals to be played on October 30. The final will be played on October 31. (ANI)