With four age-group hockey championships, Birsa Munda Stadium to shape future players

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This year, the newly constructed Birsa Munda Stadium will hold four age-group national hockey championships to offer home players a taste of the cutting-edge venue that last month co-hosted the men's World Cup with the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

The Junior Women's National Championship will be held from April 13 to 23, as will the Junior Men's National Championship from April 28 to May 8 and the Sub-junior Women's National Championship from May 13 to 23. (May 28-June 7).

Meanwhile, the Senior Men National Championship 2023 will take place from May 3 to May 14 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

"We have taken a major step by signing a multi-year contract with the FanCode who have over 50 million users to show all the National Championship matches live in India and the Indian sub-continent," said Hockey India president and former captain Dilip Tirkey.

"We also want to introduce video referral at the domestic level so that players understand the process early in their careers. Our aim is to provide these budding stars the same feel of playing an international match in India," he added.

Each arena will have a three-camera setup to record and relay the action live starting this year with the Senior Women National Championship, which will start on February 15 in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh. The matches will be held along the same lines as international matches with "Player of The Match" awards being given out for every match.

Hockey India secretary-general Bholanath Singh said, "This is the first time HI has taken these kinds of measures to lift the profile of the National Championships and give it a uniform look and feel.

"All the costs for these new initiatives will be borne by Hockey India and we will not burden our host member unit with these extra costs. The cash award for 'Player of the Match' will also be provided by the federation."

For on-field communication, the umpires presiding the national championships will be given radios, and the organisation is also seeking to use video referrals in the nationals.

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