FIH Hockey 5s: Test of skill and fitness for India as it forays into new genre of hockey

Lausanne, Jun 3 Tokyo (Hockey News) It will be a test of fitness, skill and speed for Olympic bronze medallist India when they open their campaign against Switzerland on Saturday in the inaugural FIH Hockey 5s, a shorter and faster version of the traditional field hockey.

The two-event, an FIH's effort to promote the game among masses in a shorter version similar to T20 in cricket, Rugby7s and 3×3 basketball, will look to create a new genre for the game and increase its appeal among its fans.

The Indian men's team will play their opening match against hosts Switzerland followed by game against Pakistan on the same day.

The Indians will then face Malaysia and Poland respectively on Sunday.

Indian men's hockey team skipper for the event, Gurinder Singh said they can't wait to take the field on Saturday.

"It's a great atmosphere out here. We also had good training sessions and we are fully prepared for the tournament.

"We will be up against some quality teams and since the format is new, it will be a challenging task for us. It is fast-paced and we will need to adapt to the situations as quickly as possible," he said.

The nine-member squad features Pawan, Sanjay and Rabichandra Singh Moirangthem, who were part of the silver-medal winning team at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, where the game was played in Hockey 5s format.

"It will require a lot of speed and skills. We've worked on short passes, 3D skills and the structure as well. The use of perimeter boards is a new element in this format, and we will try to take advantage of it.

"We have got three players in the team, who have played this format before, so their experiences have been really helpful for us in our preparations," Gurinder said.

Indian vice-captain Sumit added, "It's a new format for us and we are super excited to play this version of the game. There will be high-scoring and neck-to-neck games, so our focus will be to play attacking hockey right from the start.

"We've worked on all the aspects of the game, and the key focus will be to use the perimeter boards effectively. We have got a good experienced team, some of us have played this format before, so we are confident and looking forward to this fun filled tournament," Sumit said.

The Indian women's team, led by Rajani Etimarpu, will also feature in the event and will open its campaign against Uruguay. Besides, the Indian women will face Poland later on Saturday.

Thereafter, India will face hosts Switzerland and South Africa respectively on Sunday.

Speaking on their preparation, captain Etimarpu said, "All the teams are playing for the first time in this format. So, all the teams are expected to be at the same level. We want to go and play hockey, showcase our skills, and enjoy ourselves.

"We are glad and excited to play in FIH Hockey 5s. We have worked hard on the training grounds, and have tried to adjust our game plan as per the format. We hope we can give Uruguay and Poland a tough contest on the first day of the competition." Hockey5s was first introduced in 2013 with the intent of driving up viewership of the game by making it quicker, simpler and more entertaining.

In 2014 Youth Olympic in China, the format made its first appearance on a big international stage.

Rules of 'Hockey 5s' ———————- The field of play for Hockey 5s is around half the size of a regular field. Though the size can differ slightly from competition to competition, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) regulations states that the maximum size acceptable for a Hockey5s turf is 55mx42m while the minimum size needs to be 40mx28m.

The two boundary lines marking the length (longer distance) of the court are called the sidelines while the lines marking the breadth (shorter distance) are called backlines.

Two goal posts of 3.66m in length and 2.14m in height are set up midway through the backlines of the rectangular court.

There are no D's or semi-circle around the goal in Hockey 5s. A central line running parallel to the backlines divides the court into two equal halves. There are two quarter lines, drawn parallel to the back lines and central lines, which divide each half of the part into two equal parts.

Besides, a circular penalty spot between the quarter line and the central points between the two goalposts on each side is also there.

Unlike the usual format, where one needs to strike the ball from inside the 'D' to score a goal, in Hockey 5s players are allowed to shoot from anywhere.

In Hockey 5s, a team consists of maximum of five players on the pitch at a given time, including the goalkeeper and teams are allowed to make up to four substitutions in the game.

The biggest difference between regular field hockey and Hockey 5s is the presence of boundary boards.

In field hockey, if the ball crosses the sidelines, it is deemed out of play and the match resumes with a free hit. Bit in Hockey5s, the ball can hit the boundary board and come back into play.

The ball is considered out of play in Hockey 5s only if it goes over the boundary board.

In Hockey 5s, the concept of penalty corner doesn't exist with a team can challenge a foul and if the challenge is upheld, it results in a one-on-one shoot-out situation with the opposition goalkeeper.

A Hockey 5s match is of 20 minutes divide into two halves of 10 minutes each. 

Also Read : India beat Japan 1-0 to clinch Asia Cup bronze

News Source : PTI


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