Rourkela:17/5/23: The Hockey Association of Odisha on Wednesday announced their 18-member squad for the 13th Hockey India Sub Junior Men’s National Championship.
Commencing from May 18 and running till 28, all of the matches of the tournament are set to be played at Rourkela’s Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, the largest seated hockey arena in the world. There will be 28 teams participating and vying for the coveted title.
The host state will be led by 15-year-old Ashish Kumar Toppo, who is now serving as captain of the home side, with Bilkan Oram serving as the vice-captain. Goalkeepers Abhimanyu Gouda and Ronit Raj Xaxa will be the designated custodians between the posts.
“The boys are brimming with excitement and are eager to showcase their best on the field. Witnessing the fantastic atmosphere during the Women’s Sub Junior Championship, we are expecting a similar fervour and enthusiasm. It’s an incredible opportunity for our team to play in front of an enthusiastic audience and push their limits. We embrace the challenge and look forward to delivering an exhilarating performance, worthy of the stage,” said coach B J Kariappa, in a media release.
The group will include a number of cadets from the state’s Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC, including Ronit Xaxa, Rohit Kullu, Pradip Mandal, Sudarshan, and Amarjit Singh, who are keen to demonstrate their talent.
“Playing at the World Cup venue is an exhilarating experience for us, and it brings a unique sense of pride and anticipation. We have dedicated ourselves to intense training, striving to excel under our coach’s guidance,” said skipper Ashish Kumar Toppo.
“The hard work and preparation have led us to this moment, and we eagerly await the opportunity to showcase our skills on such a grand stage. We are truly looking forward to it, ready to leave our mark and make our state proud,” he added.
Hockey Odisha squad:
Goalkeeper: Ronit Xaxa & Abhimanyu Gouda
Deep defender: Pradip Mandal, Rohit Kulu & Salmon Toppo
Flank defender: Bilkan Oram
Defensive midfielder: Sudarshan Goud, Amarjit Singh, Suresh Sharma
Attacking midfielder: Samir Barwa, Ashis Kumar Toppo & Swadhin Lugun
Left striker: Yojin Minz, Nanwar Deonath
Centre striker: Rohit Singh
Right striker: Deepak Pradhan, Bidyananda Singh