Mon, 25 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], May 29 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Hockey emerged victorious in the 13th Hockey India Sub Junior Men National Championship 2023 on Sunday after defeating Hockey Association of Odisha 7-1 in the Final at the iconic Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela.

Ujjwal Pal (6', 38', 47') converted three penalty corners, while Rahul Yadav (30'), Ketan Kushwaha (39'), Rahul Rajhbar (52'), and Team Captain Ajeet Yadav (54') each scored a goal to make sure Uttar Pradesh Hockey go all the way in the tournament.

With the win, Uttar Pradesh Hockey not only successfully defended their title but also remained unbeaten in the tournament. Speaking on their successful campaign, Uttar Pradesh Hockey's Manager and Coach Vikas Pal, who was elated after his team's brilliant victory, said as quoted by Hockey India press release, "The players did exceptionally well in the Final. We had a specific plan against Odisha and we managed to execute it really well. We are happy to retain the title and return home with the Gold Medal. I am really proud of this team. We will try to keep up the momentum and perform even better in future tournaments."Lakshminarayan, the Head Coach of the Hockey Association of Odisha, expressed his thoughts on the Silver medal, saying his team gained much-needed exposure in the tournament and will now focus on improving their game.

"We as a team played really well throughout the tournament. We gave our hundred percent in every game and I am really proud of the team. Uttar Pradesh Hockey played better than us and that's why they were deserving winners. Nevertheless, we are leaving Rourkela with a lot more experience and will focus on working on the areas where we fell short. I would specifically like to thank the people of Odisha for turning up in such numbers and supporting us throughout the tournament," Lakshminarayan said.

"Also, I would like to thank Hockey India for focussing on grassroots-level programmes to this extent. This is definitely going to motivate the young players and will help them to perform even better in the future," he added.

Notably, the 3rd/4th place match saw Hockey Haryana come from behind to beat Hockey Madhya Pradesh 4-2. Tushar Parmar (14') and Subhan Abid (22') scored to give Hockey Madhya Pradesh a comfortable lead, but Hockey Haryana fought back with goals from Sunil (29', 51'), Happy (37'), and Neeraj (58') to finish third in the tournament.

On winning the bronze medal, Head Coach of Hockey Haryana Sandeep Dangi said, "Hockey Madhya Pradesh started off well in the game and put us under pressure in the first two quarters but we remained confident of bouncing back and beat them. So, I am elated and proud of my players who made a sensational comeback. The way we played in the second half helped us to finish the tournament on a high note. I am satisfied with our performance in the tournament and happy for finishing on the podium. We will come back stronger next year and will try to change the colour of our medal.". (ANI)

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