Jalandhar: The stage is set for 31st edition of the IndianOil SERVO Surjit Hockey Tournament, which begins tomorrow here at local Olympian Surjit Hockey Stadium, Burlton Park, Jalandhar.
Tournament is organized every year by the Surjit Hockey Society, Jalandhar to keep the name of ex-Olympian late Sardar Surjit Singh Randhawa, former skipper of Indian Hockey Team, who lost his life in a fatal car accident near Jalandhar on January 7th, 1984, while fighting hard for up-liftment of the National Game of Hockey in our Country.
According to Kamal Kishore Yadav, IAS, Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar, who is also the President of the Surjit Hockey Society that two Pakistani teams namely, Punjab-XI (Men) & Rest of Pakistan (Women) will be seen in action during the tournament as both teams have got the visas. Both teams will cross international border on Nov 2.
Yadav further said that the 31st edition of the tournament will be played on knockout-cum-league basis on the polytan turf. The tournament committee is expected to attract hockey followers in large number as this year also the spectators who come to witness the hockey matches and the players/officials who will participate in this tournament will get Maruti ALTO Car, Motor Cycles, Refrigerator and LCDs as prize on the final day. These prizes shall be decided by draw of lot and every day each spectators will be issued a lucky coupons for 12 days where as the players/officials will be given lucky coupons on the day of the first match. The Maruti ALTO Car have been sponsored by Chander Shekhar Marwaha, the Chairman of IJM Group of Nakodar. The matches will be played under flood lights in the stadium and no gate entry money will be charged to the spectators who will come to witness the game of hockey. All types of arrangements like boarding and lodging, Transport, security, medical etc. have been completed.
As in the past, this year also, the Asia’s largest and leading Maharatna Oil Company Indian Oil Corporation Limited will be the main sponsor of the tournament while Punjab & Sind Bank, CT Group of Institutions, Jalandhar, IJM and HDFC Bank, TUT Brothers, USA, Pukhraj Health Care Pvt. Limited, Punjab National Bank, Uppal Hospitality Group of Hong Kong, Gary Johal of Penticton (Canada) and Golds Gym, Jalandhar will be the co-sponsors of the tournament. The finalist will get a cash prize of Rs. 9.50 lacs where as the Best player of the tournament will get Mohinder Singh Tut Memorial Award along with Gold Medal worth Rs. 25,000 which has been sponsored by the Ranbir Singh Rana Tut of Victoria Gardens, Jalandhar.
Accordingly to Iqbal Singh Sandhu, Organising Secretary of the tournament that all the teams have been divided into four pools and winner team of the each pool will qualify for the semi finals, scheduled to be held on Nov. 8. the 21top ranking teams including Last Year’s Champion Punjab & Sind Bank & Runners up Indian Oil will take part in this 12 days hockey bonanza. Indian Oil, RCF Kapurthala and Indian Overseas Bank have been placed in Pool-‘A’, Bharat Petroleum, Army-XI and winner team of qualifying rounds placed in Pool-‘B’, ONGC, Punjab-XI (Pakistan) and Punjab National Bank have been placed in Pool-“C” while Punjab & Sind Bank, CAG and Namdhari-XI have been grouped in to Pool-’D” directly into league stage. Punjab Police, CRPF, Corps of Signals, Northern Railways, Indian Air Force, PSPCL, Indian Navy, BSF and EME have to play on knockout stage matches. On the inaugural day, the formal opening match will be played between Indian Air Force and Northern Railways at 5.45 pm. In the other match of the day, Indian Navy will face EME while CRPF will meet the winner team of match Coprs of Signals.
In the women section of the tournament four teams namely Rest of Pakistan, Punjab-XI, Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala and Haryana-XI will meet each other in the round Robin league matches. The first two teams with highest points, will qualify for the finals, scheduled to be held in Nov.7.
The arrangements have been made to telecast LIVE, both the Semi Final & Final matches of the tournament on PTC News Channels. A ball to ball running commentary of the final match will also be broadcasted by the All India Radio, Jalandhar. A full-fledged media centre has also been set up for the convenience of the print and electronic media. There will a colorful cultural programme of the final day of the tournament where Famous Punjabi Folk Singers known as Waris Brothers , namely Manmohan Waris & Kamal Heer will give their LIVE performance to entertain the spectators on the closing day of the tournament.
In the mean time, today in qualifying round matches, former Champion Punjab Police, Jalandhar routed Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) Patiala by 9-1 at half time the winners were leading by 4-0 whereas in other match of the day Corps of Signals defeated Border Security force, Jalandhar by 2-1.
Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema, Minister for Education, Punjab, will formally inaugurate the tournament on Oct. 29 at 5.45 pm. Pargat Singh, MLA, Jalandhar Cantt. will preside over the function whereas Kishore Kumar, ED, Punjab & Sind Bank, Delhi & P.K. Das, ED, IndianOil will be Guests of Honors.