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Despite hurdles the event goes on in Imphal (5/9/2016)
--K. Arumugam
9th May Imphal: Despite many hurdles Manipur, the cradle of North East hockey, has kick-started its ambitious step of hosting two Divisions of age group Hockey India National Championship here early this week.

Hockey Manipur, the State Hockey Association, took a giant step of hosting Division B and Division A of Hockey India Sub-Junior National Championships. Its bid has been accepted to accelerate growth of hockey in this part of India.

About 25 teams in each category will take part in the month long mela.

First Division B will be held following which Division A will start from 15th May.

However, the start had been painful.

undefined An unexpected political development came as a big dampener.

A public group has announced Bandh (total strike) on 6th and 7th, which meant empty roads and closed shops for two full days.

Since Manipur has no direct railway link, teams have to arrive from Dimapur in Nagaland, about 200 km from Imphal.

The teams who were alighted in Dimapur could not be brought to Imphal due to the strike, and the original plan of bringing in charted bus on concession rate did not work for those two day.

Travel expense from Dimapur to Imphal one way cost, as a result, doubled. Each player has to eke out Rs.700 against original plan of Rs.350 per head. However, Hockey Manipur came out readily to offer Rs.300 concessional from its purse. Its a good gesture.

Then there were many, including national selector, to arrive by air. The Hockey Manipur people met the top police and got the Airport to official hotel, Classic Grande, cleared for those two days and ferried them without any hassle.

Earlier, the HM management met the organizers of the Bandh and explained about the National Championship, and sought likely postponement till the event is over.

They were bluntly told the cause of Inline Permit System, which they were demanding, is important than hockey.

Hockey Manipur thankfully took the hurdles on head and worked hard to stage the event, biggest since HI came into being.

Into fourth day, the Championship is progressing well, and as per the original plan.

For most teams it took three days to reach here, some teams flew,

Nice to see parents of many students, who form the Bombay School Sports Association, are here, supporting vocally their wards.

Besides the above, Madhya Bharat, Coorg are the new entrants to the Sub-Junior category.

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