The Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams will be a part of the inaugural FIH World Hockey5s to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland later this year, the international hockey federation (FIH) announced on Tuesday.
The five-nation competition will make its international debut at the Place de la Navigation, near Lake Geneva, on September 11 and 12.
The teams competing in the first edition of the FIH World Hockey5s include hosts Switzerland along with England, Germany, India and Malaysia in the men’s section. Switzerland, England, Germany, India and South Africa will fight it out in the women’s tourney.
Hockey5s is different from the traditional field hockey format. The five-a-side game is played on a smaller pitch and players can score from anywhere unlike in the traditional game where one can only score from inside the Dee (striking circle).
Hockey5s, played in about 70 countries, is seen as FIH’s move to take hockey to newer destinations and attract more crowds to the game.
The game has also tasted some success at the Olympic level with Hockey5s featuring in the 2014 and the 2018 Youth Olympics. In fact, the Indian boys’ team won the silver medal at the 2018 Games in Buenos Aires. The team was led by Vivek Sagar Prasad, now an established player in the regular senior team.
The FIH plans to have a continental 5s championship in the coming years to act as the qualifiers for a 5s World Cup, which will be a 16-team affair to be held in 2023.
Though Hockey India is still to have a dedicated Hockey5s programme, it has been conducting national meets for a couple of years.