Defending champions and three-time champions Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy (MPHA) is missing in action at the SNBP All-India Under-16 Boys Hockey Tournament being played in Pune. MPHA had won the 2019 edition pipping Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Amritsar 8-2 in the final. The MP lads has had a towering presence in the SNBP All-India Under-16 Boys Hockey Tournament. Barring a runners-up finish in the 2018 edition when they went down to Krida Prabodhini 1-2 in the final, MPHA had won the 2017 and 2016 editions getting the better of Saheed Bishan Singh School and Mumbai Schools Sports Association by 3-1 and 8-3 margins respectively.
“We could not be part of the SNBP All-India Under-16 Boys Hockey Tournament owing to lack of availability of our boys. Our boys went home for the Diwali break and our academy has not yet opened after Diwali. The boys work really hard through the year and this break was important for them to recharge their batteries. We hope to regroup and feature in domestic tournaments,” says former Olympian Sameer Dad.
The absence of MPHA effectively makes 2019 runners-up SGPC Amritsar, Naval Tata Academy Odisha, Anwar Hockey Society Uttar Pradesh, SAIL Hockey Academy, Regional Developmental Centre Jharkhand strong contenders for the 2021 edition of SNBP All-India Under-16 Boys Hockey Tournament.