~ Hockey India launches Chennai Chronicles to capture the city’s enthusiasm towards hockey ahead of the forthcoming Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2023~
New Delhi, 1st July 2023: There is palpable excitement among hockey fans as international hockey returns to Chennai after 16 long years, with the Hero Asian Champions Trophy 2023 set to begin on August 3rd. Adding to the excitement, Hockey India’s Chennai Chronicles Series revisits some of the city’s iconic matches, which have witnessed some mega rivalries unfold.
In the first episode of the Chennai Chronicles Series, we walked down memory lane with former India defender VR Raghunath, regarded as one of India’s most lethal drag flickers and two-time Olympian.
Talk about hockey and Chennai, and Raghunath is instantly reminded of the Asia Cup in 2007 when India outclassed a formidable South Korean side 7-2 to defend their title. “It was one of the best tournaments of my career. I was only two years into the Senior side and I was getting exposed to world hockey at that time. This home tournament gave me a big opportunity to learn and the team was also transitioning at that time with many newcomers in the team who went on to play for India for the next 8-9 years. At this tournament, India was led by Dilip Tirkey and we were really determined to do well,” recalled Raghunath, who made his International debut in 2005 during the bilateral Series against Pakistan.
“We were playing in a brand-new stadium and the Chennai crowd is very knowledgeable and passionate about the game. Playing in Chennai is very different from other venues. The hospitality of the people, how the crowd responds to hockey stars and the energy they bring to every match is incredible,” added Raghunath.
The Arjuna awardee also hailed Hockey India for taking international hockey to different venues in the country. He said, “This gives states a great opportunity to develop infrastructure. Also, kudos to the Tamil Nadu government for taking up this responsibility to host such a big event in the Asian hockey calendar. I wish more such tournaments would come to India and different states should put their hand up to host it.”
Speaking about India’s chances at the prestigious event, Raghunath said, “The Asian Champions Trophy this time will be a psychological contest. Every team will be coming into the tournament to test their team before the Asian Games and India in their current form should finish on the top.”
Lastly, Raghunath urged visiting teams to soak up the culture and heritage of Chennai and he believes the participating Asian countries will enjoy the local cuisine. “There are some very beautiful places in Chennai. The teams should utilize rest days to go around the city and enjoy the culture. Many of these teams like Malaysia and Japan like spicy food, and I’m sure they will enjoy what Chennai has to offer,” he signed off, wishing the teams the best.
Please see below social media links for Chennai Chronicles:
Hero Men’s Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 will be live on Star Sports, Disney + Hotstar. It will also be live streamed on watch.hockey for viewing outside of India.
By Hockey India