Rourkela: The 13th Hockey India Sub Junior Men’s National Championship has entered the semi-final stage at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.
The competition, which kicked off May 18, following the sub-junior women’s nationals, is proving to be a great opportunity for the young athletes to compete with their peers from across India and showcase their potential and the experience of playing at a world-class facility that has left the players impressed.
The decision to allow the spectators’ free entry has enabled the players to experience playing in front of a large crowd, while the state-of-the-art synthetic turf has replicated the experience of an international match.
Srijan Yadav from Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, who scored eight goals in the tournament, expressed his excitement to play at the World Cup venue, where some of the finest hockey players recently competed. “I have not experienced an environment like this anywhere else. The atmosphere is so good; it feels like I am playing an international tournament. I am grateful to Hockey India and the state of Odisha for giving us an opportunity like this,” he said.
Mizoram coach Laruatfela Zote also spoke about the value of early exposure to a professional competition for his team, while commending the quality of the synthetic turf. Laruatfela said, “This is top-quality turf, the way the ball plays is very different from what the boys are used to, and it is an important exposure for them. Especially since this is of international standard. The atmosphere has been great, the crowd, the music… everything is very encouraging for the players. The experience will undoubtedly shape the players for the future.”
Bijay Shaw, a member of the Hockey Bengal unit, said, “It is so good to play in an international stadium, the atmosphere is very different. This is unlike any other venue we have played at so far.”