From 23 May to 1 June 2023, the best young Asian men’s hockey teams went head-to-head in the Men’s Junior Asia Cup Salalah 2023, competing for the gold medal and the final three spots up for grabs in the upcoming FIH Junior Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023, to be played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
India and Pakistan were the dominant teams in the Pool A winning three matches comprehensively, and played out an entertaining draw in their head-to-head matchup, as both teams earned qualification for the semi-finals, with India topping the group thanks to their superior goal difference. In Pool B, it was Malaysia on top, winning all four of their pool matches, and Korea finished second with three wins and a solitary loss, which came against Malaysia.
The semi-finals were heavily one sided as India and Pakistan dominated their Pool B opponents. India claimed a 9-1 win over Korea with Boby Singh Dhami scoring a hat-trick and a total of 7 different players appearing on the scoresheet. Pakistan came out comfortable winners in the second semi-final with a 6-2 win over Malaysia. Rehman Abdul found the back of the goal thrice to propel Pakistan into the finals and himself to the top of the scoring charts.
The finals saw India take on Pakistan, as the storied rivalry added yet another chapter to its books. A cagey and close encounter was edged by India who took a 2-goal lead into half-time and while Pakistan struck back once in the third quarter, India would hold their nerves to claim a 2-1 victory and the gold medal. Korea won the bronze medal match against Malaysia by a 2-1 margin. With the results India, Pakistan, Korea and Malaysia (hosts) have qualified for the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup 2023.
Rehman Abdul of Pakistan and Kumpei Yasuda of Japan finished the tournament as the top goalscorers with 9 goals apiece.
C.R. Kumar, coach of the Indian team, speaking on his team’s success said: “We had a very good tournament overall. To be able to deliver gold for the people in India is a very proud achievement for the boys. We had good preparation for the Asia Cup with the Sultan of Johor Cup last year. It’s important to get good practise against European teams as well, so we are looking forward to the matches against Spain and Germany in preparation for the World Cup.”
Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023
From 2-11 June 2023, the best women’s junior teams of Asia will compete in the Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 in Kakamigahara, Japan with three spots up for grabs in the upcoming FIH Junior Women’s World Cup Chile 2023!
Chinese Taipei, India, Korea, Malaysia and Uzbekistan are placed in Pool A, while China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan and Kazakhstan make up Pool B.
The top two teams, in each pool, at the end of the pool stage will make it to the semi-finals. The losing semi-finalists will play in the bronze medal match, and the winner of that contest will join the two finalists in qualifying for the FIH Junior Hockey World Cup 2023.
For further information about the Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023, click here.
The FIH Junior Hockey Women’s World Cup 2023 will be played in Santiago, Chile from 29 November to 10th December 2023. Chile have qualified as the hosts of the competition. Belgium, England, Germany, Netherlands and Spain have qualified from Europe. Australia and New Zealand have qualified from Oceania. South Africa and Zimbabwe are the qualifiers from Africa. USA, Argentina and Canada qualified from Pan America, and the final three teams will qualify from Asia to complete all the 16 spots in the upcoming World Cup.