Chennai: Karnataka is the only state
association invited apart from nine institutional teams for
the 86th All India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey tournament
beginning here from Thursday.
Regulars like Mumbai, Bihar and Punjab, major hockey
playing states in the country had not been invited to compete
in the tournament which offers prize money of Rs.2.50 lakhs
and Rs.1.50 lakhs to the top two finishers respectively.
Tournament Organising Secretary Sanjay Gulvady told
reporters that there is no general reason for not inviting
teams like Mumbai and Bihar or Punjab. There was no criteria
for it. We decided to invite the best teams in the country.
Chennai League Champion side also used to be regulars but we
have not invited them," he said.
Saying that for the first time the top players in the
Indian team now would not be seen in action, Gulvady said ?the
national team is presently on a European tour. Also, Indian
Airlines and Air India players would also be missed since they
are to compete in a tournament in Canada during the same time
of our event.
Arun Murugappan Managing Director, Parry Enterprises
Limited of the Murugappa Group, said ?the tournament is the
oldest in the country, next only to the All India Beighton Cup
being held in Kolkata.
MCC and Murugappa joined hands to conduct the event since
1996, when the tournament was considered a selection criteria
for choosing the Indian team. Sixteen players spotted to
represent the country went on to win Gold Medal in 1998
Bangkok Asian Games.
Mohammed Muneer, Tournament Director, said the teams had
been split into two groups of five each and the top two in
each would figure in the Semi final and the final would be
held on July 25.
Two minutes suspension for players following a warning
(green card) during a match will be in force in the
tournament. This will help better control of the match?, he
Following are the groupings: Group-A: Army XI, ONGC,
Karnataka, Indian Railways, Namdhari XI and Group-B: Indian
Oil, Hockey India (Jr.), BPCL, Southern Railway and Punjab