In a bid to provide aspiring stars and teams an opportunity to perform at a world-class venue, Hockey India on Monday announced that it will host four Junior National Championships in the newly-build Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, Odisha.
The Championships to be held at the Birsa Munda stadium are, Jor Women National Championship from 13th to 23rd of April, Jr Men National Championship ( 28th April to 8th May ), Sub Jr Women (13th to 23rd May ) and Sub Jr Men ( 28th May to 7th June.)
The Senior Women Nationals will be held in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh from 15th February while the Senior men's national will be played in Madurai, from 3rd to 14th May.
Announcing this Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey said that besides providing good playing conditions for the Nationals, several other initiatives have been taken to lift the profile of the sport in the domestic circuit.
As a first step towards this, Hockey India has signed a multiyear deal with interactive live streaming platform FanCode who will have the rights to show all the matches played at Hockey India National Championships in India and Indian sub-continent.
Starting with the Senior Women National each venue will have a three-camera setup to capture and relay the action live and the matches will be held on the same lines as the International Matches with Player of The Match award being given away for every match.
Making all matches viewer-friendly, each of the National Championships will have specific look and feel designs and branding across the venues. Apart from this, the organisers will also adopt features such as Captains line-up for handshake with the dignitaries, post-match presentations, and closing ceremony with trophy presentation ceremony along the lines of any other international tournament.
In a first, the umpires officiating at these National Championships will be provided radios for on-field communication and the Federation is also working on introducing video referral in the National Championships.
"We have taken a major step by signing a-multiyear contract with FanCode who have over 50 million users to show all the National Championship matches live in the country and the sub-continent. All matches will also have English commentary which will keep the viewers engaged. I feel this in itself will be a big boost for the players to showcase their talent. We also want to introduce video referral at the domestic level so that players understand the process early in their careers. Our aim is to provide these budding stars the same feel of playing an international match in India." HI chief said
"This is the first time Hockey India has taken these kinds of measures to lift the profile of the National Championships and give it a uniform look and feel. All the costs for these new initiatives will be borne by Hockey India and we will not burden our host Member Unit with these extra costs. The cash award for Player of the Match will also be provided by the Federation," added HI Secretary Genera Bholanath Singh.
Talking about their association Prasana Krishnan, co-founder of FanCode, said, “. This is part of FanCode’s aim of making hockey more accessible for sports fans in the country.”