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Sports Minister kick starts Khelo India U-21 Women’s Hockey League

New Delhi : Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur on Wednesday inaugurated the first edition of Khelo India U-21 Women’s Hockey League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.

The league will be organised from December 15 to December 21.
“If Leagues are established across the country before participation in big events, it helps athletes to play around the year,” said Anurag Thakur after launching the league.

“I congratulate Hockey India and SAI for giving an opportunity to young women hockey players. There will be a cash prize of Rs 15 Lakhs,” he added.

Organised by the Sports Authority of India in collaboration with Hockey India, the first phase of the 14-team League will get rolling with a match between Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance Centre, Bhubaneswar and Raja Karan Hockey Academy, Karnal.

According to a release issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the league has been designed to provide an additional opportunity to gain competitive exposure to emerging talents.

The Indian Junior team, preparing for the FIH Women’s Junior Hockey World Cup, will star favourites while two Sports Authority of India (SAI) squads will want to steal a march on the other sides in the competition. A total of 14 teams will be vying for honours over the course of seven days here.

The second phase of the tournament will be held at the SAI Centre in Lucknow, before the teams move to the Kalinga Stadium Bhubaneswar, for the climactic stage.

The teams have been divided into two groups as follows:

Group A:
India Juniors, Sports Authority of India B, New Delhi;
Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance Centre, Bhubaneswar;
Khalsa Hockey Academy, Amritsar;
Mumbai Schools Sports Association,
Raja Karan Hockey Academy and Him Academy, Vikas Nagar

Group B:
Sports Authority of India A, New Delhi;
Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Bhopal;
Har Hockey Academy, Sonipat;
Jai Bharat Hockey Academy, Delhi;
Pritam Siwach Hockey Academy, Sonipat;
Sports Hostel, Bhubaneswar and Delhi Hockey.