Indian Oil enhanced their credentials as a strong domestic hockey force as they stormed into the semifinals of the 3rd Marshall of the Air Force Arjan Singh Memorial Hockey Tournament that is being played at the AstroTurf hockey ground of 3 BRD in Chandigarh. The oilmen, who won the Senior Nehru Hockey Tourney in Hyderbad, thumped Indian Navy 5-1 to top Pool A – they had earlier prevailed over South Central Railway 6-2 in their tournament opener. Indian Oil would now face Pool C toppers Army XI, who humbled Punjab National Bank 3-0 and drew former champions Punjab Police 4-4 in a hard-fought tie. Army XI put up a splending performance in the Obaidullah Heritage Cup, finishing runners-up to Railway Sports Promotion Board.
Meanwhile, hosts Indian Air Force romped into the semifinals in style, drubbing Bangladesh Air Force 5-2 after earlier having trounced CISF 7-1 in their tournament opener. The Pool A toppers would face Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala in the semifinals. The RCF outfit played out a 1-1 draw against Chandigarh XI and received walked over from defending champions Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai.
The tournament is being organised by the Indian Air Force Sports Control Board (AFSCB) – it is being revived after a three-year hiatus owing to Covid-19. It may be worth recalling that Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai had won the 3rd Marshall of the Air Force Arjan Singh Memorial Hockey Tournament held in 2009, prevailing over South-Central Railway 7-5 in a shootout after both teams were tied 2-2 in normal time. 16 teams participated in the 2019 edition that featured Air Force teams from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Punjab Police had won the 1st Marshall of the Air Force Arjan Singh Memorial Hockey Tournament held in 2018 – the Punjab cops had sailed past Indian Air Force 5-2 in the final.