Home » Asian Champions Trophy 2023: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Unveils Trophy as ‘Pass The Ball’ Tour Gets Underway

Asian Champions Trophy 2023: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Unveils Trophy as ‘Pass The Ball’ Tour Gets Underway

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The Hero Asian Champions Trophy being unveiled in Delhi.

The Men’s Asian Champions Trophy will be held in India for the first time with the seventh edition getting underway from August 3 in Chennai.

International hockey is set to return to Chennai after 16 long years, with the Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 set to begin on August 3rd at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Egmore.

This will be the seventh edition of the coveted tournament and it is scheduled to be held from 3rd August to 12th August 2023, serving as a precursor to the Hangzhou Asian Games in September where teams will vie to win Gold and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

The continental tournament will be held for the first time in India with Chennai’s iconic Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium set to play host to as many as six teams from August 3.

The Pass the Ball Trophy Tour for the tournament was set underway today, as they unveiled the prestigious Asian Champions Trophy at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Delhi.

The event was held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium in New Delhi in the presence of Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey, Secretary General Bhola Nath Singh among other top officials.

Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs and Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Shri Anurag Thakur unveiled the trophy alongside the presence of Hockey India Office Bearers and Olympians.

A bunch of Indian men’s hockey team legends including Zafar Iqbal, Harbinder Singh, Ashok Diwan, Romeo James, MP Singh, HPS Chimani, and Vineet Kumar were also present at the occasion.

“India is hosting the tournament for the first time and I am sure it will be a successful event,” Thakur said during the event.

“Hope India can create history by winning the title (for the) fourth time. For that, the team will have to give their best shot. Hope we can do that,” he added.

Thakur and Olympian Iqbal then tried dribbling past the ball with a hockey stick against each other on the stage to symbolically kickstart the ‘Pass The Ball’ tour during which the trophy will travel to multiple cities in India starting with Delhi, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Bangalore, Trivandrum and host city Chennai.

“Last year we held Chess Olympiad in Tamil Nadu. For the first time in the event’s history, a torch relay was held. FIDE president said wherever the tournament is held in the world, the relay will start from India, the birthplace of chess,” Thakur said.

“It (trophy tour) creates excitement, awareness, attracts young players like these to see the trophy and get inspired to the day they will play for Team India. Such tours across the country will help create awareness among the youth… My best wishes to the state of Tamil Nadu… The best team should win; the best performance should come. My best wishes to Hockey India and every stakeholder involved in organizing the event,” he added.

The six-team tournament will see South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan, China, and India battle it out for top honours. All the teams are part of one pool and the positions on the points table will be decided by a league system.

Hosts India and China will face each other in the last match of the tournament’s opening day on August 3 at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium.

India and Pakistan are the two most successful teams of the competition having won the title thrice each.

India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in the final league-stage match on August 9.

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