Hockey Perspectives

Defending Champions Railways, Indian Oil to feature in 39th Surjit Hockey Tournament

The country’s biggest domestic hockey tournament – 39th Surjit Hockey Tournament – organised by the Surjit Hockey Society, would be a huge opportunity for domestic teams to showcase their hockey prowess. The 39th Surjit Hockey Tournament, which would be played at the Olympian Surjit Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Jallandhar from October 27 to November 4, will attract the who’s who of domestic hockey, where attractive cash prizes are at stake.

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The tournament is organised annually to keep the name of Surjit Singh Randhawa alive – the hockey great had died in a fatal car accident near Jallandhar on January 7, 1984. The tournament was initially played on grass at the Guru Gobind Singh Stadium, Jallandhar before it was shifted to Olympian Surjit Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium from 2007 onwards. Top club teams from Pakistan, Russia, Bangladesh, Yugoslavia, Canada, US, England, Croatia, Malaysia, etc have participated in this coveted tourney.

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Surjit Hockey Society President and Jallandhar DC (IAS) Jaspreet Singh said Indian Oil Corporation like so many years, would be the main sponsor of the 39th Surjit Hockey Tournament. The winning team will take home a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh, while the runners-up team would be richer by Rs 3 lakh – these cash awards are sponsored by NRI Amolak Singh Gakhal, Chairman of US-based Gakhal Group. The Best Player of the Tournament would received the Mohinder Singh Tut Memorial Award along with a cash prize of Rs 25,000, sponsored by Ranbir Singh Rana Tut.

Surjit Hockey Society CEO Iqbal Singh Sandhu said unlike the 2021 edition, the format has been changed this time around althought it would still be played on a knockout-cum-league format. “Last year we had four pools of three teams each but this time around eight teams will be pitted into two pools with four teams each. We believe this would create interest and competition among the teams.

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Six teams are seeded directly in the quarterfinal stage while ten teams would slug it out in the knockout-cum-qualifying stage, with two teams joining the six teams in the quarterfinal phase, added Sandhu. 15 teams would battle it out in the nine-day tournament to be largely played under floodlights. Defending champions Railways Sports Promotion Board, Indian Oil, Punjab Police are placed in Pool A of the quarterfinal league phase, while last year’s runners-up Punjab & Sind Bank, Indian Oil, Punjab Police, Punjab National Bank, and Army XI are pitted in Pool B of the quarterfinal league phase. Teams such as CRPF, Delhi, BSF Jallandhar, Indian Air Force, Delhi, Army (Green), Indian Navy, Mumbai, EME Jallandhar, ASC, Bangalore, CAG, Delhi, RCF Kapurthala, and Corps of Signals would fight it out in the knockout-cum-qualifying stage.

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Indian Navy, Mumbai would lock horns with Corps of Signals in the tournament opener with the two semifinals slated for November 3 and the final would be held on November 4. It may be worth recalling that Railways Sports Promotion Board eased past Punjab & Sind Bank 3-1 to win the 38th edition held at the Army’s Katoch Astroturf Hockey Stadium, Jallandhar Cantonment. The tournament would be a huge opportunity for players to make an impression and force their way into the national core probables and subsequently in the final squad.