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Murugappa Gold Cup sans stars

July 08, 2003 20:42 IST

The absence of members of the Indian squad and a few top teams, especially defending champions Indian Airlines and Indian Oil Corporation, from the 81st MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup hockey tournament, to be held in Chennai, from July 9 to 19, will not have any bearing on the fare, say the organisers of the tournament.

Organising secretary S L Rajiv Reddy and Managing Director Vellayan of the Murugappa Group, the sponsors, said to fill the void, Punjab Police, Bhopal XI, Mumbai XI , MEG Bangalore and Army Services Corps (ASC) Centre, who have been doing well in national level tournaments and local league champions Indian Overseas Bank, have been roped in.

However, the country's junior stars, teaming up as IHF Juniors XI, will strive to hog the limelight in the absence of the seniors.

The other strong teams in fray include Tamil Nadu XI, Indian Railways, ONGC, Air India and Karnataka XI.

The teams, divided into four pools of three teams each, will play on league-cum-knock out basis. The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the knock-out quarter-finals, to be held on July 15 and 16.

After a day of rest, the semi-finals will be played on July 18.

Mr Vellayan said to give a boost to the game as well as promising talent in the wake of the improved performance of the Indian team, the prize-money had been increased to Rs 75,000, from Rs 60,000, for the winning team and Rs 50,000, from Rs 40,000, to the runners-up.

The following are the pools:

Pool A: Bhopal XI, Tamil Nadu XI, MEG Bangalore.

Pool B: Indian Railways, ASC Centre, Mumbai XI.

Pool C: ONGC, IHF Juniors, Air India.

Pool D: Karnataka XI, IOB, Punjab Police.

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