India aces the Under-18 Asia Cup in Dhaka


A last minute strike against Bangladesh made India win the Under-18 Men’s hockey Asia Cup on Friday. Indian team came out victorious after scoring 5-4 in their final game against hosts Bangladesh.

The first goal was scored by Bangladesh and to its immediate reaction, India scored another goal  which equalised the score to 1-1 right before half time.

India started off well by taking control of the ball, subsequently winning their first penalty corner in the 6th minute itself.

The second half of the match made the audience bite their nails as India scored 2 goals back to back making the score line 3-2. But Bangladesh soon recovered and equalised the score to 3-3.

By the end of the match, when the scoreline reached 4-4, BJ Kariappa swayed the Indian public by his smooth strike which led India to win the Asia Cup making the scoreline 5-4.

Indian vice-captain Hardik Singh was awarded The Man of the Match title while Pankaj Kumar Rajak was named the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament.

Hockey was introduced in India by the British Army regiments and it soon touched the soils of the native Indians. The first hockey club in India came up in Calcutta in 1885-86 and soon Bombay and Punjab followed. India also bagged its first Olympic Gold in the 1928 Amsterdam Games where the team made its Olympic debut. It was this game which gave fame to the Indian hockey legend – Dhyan Chand who mesmerized the Amsterdam crowd with his amazing skills.

 India national hockey team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning eleven medals in twelve Olympics between 1920 and 1980- a total of eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals. It was this time when India loomed large in world hockey and produced some of the finest players. Some of the players which comes into the mind instantly are Dhyan Chand, K.D. Singh, Dhanraj Pillay and Dilip Tirkey. Though India has also produced a number of Balbir Singhs in the game of Hockey.

The Under-18 Men’s hockey team players are as follows:

Nilam Sanjeep Xess is the captain of the team and defender Hardik Singh is named as his deputy.

Goalkeepers: Pankaj Kumar Rajak, Tanuj Gulia

Defenders: Nilam Sanjeep Xess (Captain), Hardik Singh (Vice-Captain), Vidhan Patel, Harshdeep Kapoor, Shivam Anand

Midfielders: Dharminder Singh, Kunwardilraj Singh, Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, Kishore Arya, Harish Mutagar

Forwards: Dilpreet Singh, Mohammad Umar, Ibungo Singh
Konjengbam, Sunny Malik, Shivam Anand, Abhisek.