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OTHL makes a winning start at Bilaspur Nationals (6/20/2019)
--s2h Team
One Thousand Hockey Legs (OTHL) made a winning start at the 9th Hockey India Sub-Junior National Championship being underway at Bilaspur, Chhatisgarh. Placed in 5-team Pool B, the OTHL team beat Puducherry State team 6-1. Vineet Singh led young team of the globally acclaimed grassroot program OTHL, will take on Bengaluru XI on Sunday.

undefined Citizen Hockey XI, which is the name of the OTHL team in the championship, defeated Hockey Puducherry 6-1 as Abhinandan Bharadwaj (15’, 19’), Sachin (31’, 49’), Hifazat Ali Shah (41’, 57’) scored for Citizen Hockey XI, while Captain S Gurumoorthi (37’) scored for Hockey Puducherry. (PIC: OTHL team in Bilaspur)

Normally State teams and institutional teams are given entry for the Nationals. However, Hockey India accorded a special status to OTHL which facilitates its combined team to take part in the prestigious competition. This feat was achieved for the solid grassroot work done by novel ways in difficult terrain. Having said this, its appropriate now to know nitty-gritty of the present team.

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Defender Vineet Kumar is leading the 18-member team trained by volunteers Nirmal Jeet Singh and Uma Shankar Sharma. Brajgopal, who represented the NGO team when it first played the Sub-Junior Nationals in 2014, and also declared 'Best Player of the Match' in Baroda, is the on site coach for the team in Bilaspur.

(PIC: Nitin, youngest of the OTHL team in Bilaspur) The Bilaspur team was selected after following a long process. 30 boys were selected based on their performance in various tours, school & Delhi State hockey championships. Importance was also given to talents identified during the two-month long OTHL Cup held in various venues (school campuses, Siri Fort Sports Complex, MDCNS, Yamuna Sports Complex etc..) in Delhi.

These boys were trained for almost three days per week for about four months. The mere fact that the Nationals was orginally scheduled to be held in April, but was postponed to June, helped us hone the skills of the boys for a longer spell than expected.

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The composition of the team at Bilaspur is exciting one.

Forward Nitin is the youngest, having born in 2006. He is an enterprising and up and coming striker. Aniket Kumar, who is on his second Nationals, is a reliable pivot, who can set up others for goals. Abhinanandan on the right wing is a terror for defenders. He is hawkish insofar as scoring is concerned.

(PIC: Goalkeeper Raunak sweating it out in the trials)Little dynamo Vikas is a reliable left back, who can ably assist left winger Hifazat Ali Shah in a big way. Hifazat, Aniket and Abhinandan forms our core for goals while Vineet and Ankush are defenders par excellence endowed with enormous amounts of killer instincts. Energetic Sachin and Md Arbaz -- the duo played last number in Bangalore too -- can be worthy forward with their dash and never-say-die attitude, but need to give up individual game. Shailender Rathore is another player to be watched keenly. On his day, he can be a match winner.

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There is little that separates both goalies Pradeep and Raunak Kumar, the OTHL's future.

The team:
GOALKEEPERS: Ranauk Singh (GBSSS, Ghitorni), Pradeep Kumar (GBSSS, Khanpur)
DEFENDERS: Vineet Kumar (YA SBV, Ambedkar Nagar), Sahil Singh (GBSSS, Ghitorni), Ankush Kumar (GBSSS, Khanpur)
(PIC: A practice match under progress) MIDFIELDERS: Vikas (GBSSS, Khanpur), Aniket Kumar (GBSSS, Ghitorni), Hifazat Ali (GBSSS, No.2 Ghitorni), Aditya Kumar (GBSSS, Khanpur), Deepak Kumar (SBV Ashok Vihar), Sachin (GBSSS, No.2 Mehrauli), Md. Arbaz (GBSSS, No.2 Ghitorni), Ashish Kumar Gupta (GBSSS, Saket)
FORWARDS: Abhinandan Bharadwaj (GBSSS, No.2 Mehrauli), Aadil Malik (YA SBV Ambedkar Nagar), Nitin (GBSSS, No.2 Ghitorni), Gaganjeet Singh (Private School), Shailender Rathore (GBSSS, Saket), Nitin ((GBSSS, No.2 Mehrauli).

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