Hockey Pro League will grow fans and healthy competition, says Manpreet
New Delhi [India], June 12 (ANI): Manpreet Singh, who is currently leading the Indian men's hockey team at the Hockey World League Semi Final, has asserted that the Hockey Pro League will take the competition between top ranked teams to a whole new level and will grow fans and healthy competition across the globe.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed that India's men's and women's national teams (FIH Hero World Ranking: 6 & 12 respectively) will participate in the Hockey Pro League.
The new league, which is due to launch in January 2019, will see the nine best men's and women's teams from around the world play each other both at home and away every year, across a total of 144 games. The fixtures will take place in national stadiums, week in, week out, from January to June.
India will take on Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England/Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand and Pakistan, the latter playing their home matches in Scotland.
India men's hockey team has been rebuilding over the past few years and the results are beginning to show. A silver medal at the Hockey Champions Trophy in London was followed by a Gold medal at the 2016 Asian Hockey Champions Trophy in the same year. And the future is in good hands – India won the 2016 Junior Hockey World Cup, beating Belgium in the Final.
"The Hockey Pro League will take the competition between top ranked teams to a whole new level. It will showcase healthy rivalries between teams and needless to say, quality matches will help generate a lot of interest among Indian fans across the globe," said Singh.
The women's team also know what it means to win. In 2002, the India women won gold at the Commonwealth Games, beating the higher ranked Australian and English sides in the process.
The women's team has also enjoyed a resurgence of late, qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games, after a good performance at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Antwerp. They also won Gold at the 2016 Asia Hockey Champions Trophy.
India's women's team will be up against Argentina, Australia, China, England/Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand and USA.
"This initiative by the FIH will bring a lot of exposure for us and playing top teams at a higher level is always a great way to improve our own skills," stated Rani, captain, Indian women's team. (ANI)