Wednesday March 20, 2013
KL aim to extend dominance in U-16 meet
By ASHREENA PILLAI
PETALING JAYA: Defending champions Kuala Lumpur will have home ground advantage when they compete for the top prize and bragging rights in the MHC-Milo-NSC Under-16 hockey championships which kicks off on Saturday.
The tournament, to be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from March 23-30, will see the boys and girls’ competition being held simultaneously for the first time.
The competition format for both the boys and girls remains the same as last year with a two-group round robin competition with the top two teams advancing to the semi-finals to fight for a spot in the finals on March 30 at the Ministry of Education Hockey Stadium in KL.
The boys’ competition will see 12 states in the fray for the ninth edition of the championship. Five-time champions KL are in Group A along with Terengganu, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Sabah and Perlis. Group B will have Penang, Pahang, Perak, Johor Kelantan and last year’s runners up Malacca.
Since its inception in 2004, KL have won the title five consecutive times since 2008 and K. Embaraj’s side will be looking to extend their dominance with another win again.
Ten teams are in the fray for the girls’ competition. Last year’s runners-up Malacca and Sarawak will not feature in the tournament while Kelantan will return to the fold.
Defending champions Selangor have been drawn in Group A together with Kedah, Pahang, Negri Sembilan and Perak.
Last year’s semi-finalists Johor and Penang are pooled in Group B together with Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, and Kelantan.