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Monday, 6 June 2016

International hockey returns to Lucknow

The 2016 junior World Cup hockey will be hosted in Lucknow after the state government agreed “in principle” to Hockey India’s proposal for the same.The decision was taken after Hockey India president Narinder Batra met UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday to finalise the details.Work on upgrading the existing infrastructure to ensure compliance with
international standards will begin soon.The tournament will be held at the Guru Gobind Singh Sports College, also the home stadium for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey India League (HIL).“The paperwork and other formalities are yet to be completed, but with the CM assuring full support, the venue is now finalised,” Batra told The Hindu after the meeting.
“Of course, the existing facilities need to be developed further.“A second turf is mandatory for international events, and the most important addition that needs to be made to the existing facility.
Can be done
“But, given the fact that the entire work was completed in a record 32 days in Raipur ahead of the Hockey World league finals last year, this too can be done in time,” Batra added.
The 16-team tournament, to be held from December 8 to 18, will be the second successive edition of the competition to be held in India.
The host finished a disappointing 10th in the previous edition of the tournament in 2013 in New Delhi.
The junior World Cup will also be the biggest tournament to be held in the state in two decades and the first international competition since the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup in 1995.
Incidentally, new floodlights were installed at the venue only this year for the HIL, making it the first-ever tournament to be played under lights in the city.
“It's a big achievement for UP hockey that has made steady progress in recent years. We have already hosted several big events, including the national championships for both men and women and the Hockey India League for the past four years.
“We are confident of not only providing the best facilities to the teams, but also a great experience to the audience and, hopefully, bring back the glory days of UP hockey,” former India international and UP sports director RP Singh told The Hindu .
2018 men’s WC in Chennai?
Meanwhile, Hockey India is also close to finalising the details of hosting the 2018 men’s World Cup in Chennai.
The initial rounds of meetings with state government officials earlier this year had been positive, but the recent assembly elections in Tamil Nadu meant they had to be postponed.
Now, talks have revived between Hockey India and the state government, and a decision on the same is likely to be finalised soon.

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