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Chennai hockey followers carry lot of power to each sport: Former India drag-flicker VR Raghunath

New Delhi [India], July 2 (ANI): There is palpable pleasure amongst hockey followers as worldwide hockey returns to Chennai after 16 lengthy years, with the Asian Champions Trophy 2023 set to start on August 3. Adding to the joy, Hockey India’s Chennai Chronicles Series revisits among the metropolis’s iconic matches, which have witnessed some mega rivalries unfold.

In the primary episode of the Chennai Chronicles Series, we walked down reminiscence lane with former India defender VR Raghunath, considered considered one of India’s most deadly drag glints and two-time Olympian.

Talk about hockey and Chennai, and Raghunath is immediately reminded of the Asia Cup in 2007 when India outclassed a formidable South Korean facet 7-2 to defend their title. “It was one of the best tournaments of my career. I was only two years into the Senior side and I was getting exposed to world hockey at that time. This home tournament gave me a big opportunity to learn and the team was also transitioning at that time with many newcomers in the team who went on to play for India for the next 8-9 years. At this tournament, India was led by Dilip Tirkey and we were really determined to do well,” recalled Raghunath, who made his International debut in 2005 through the bilateral Series in opposition to Pakistan.

“We were playing in a brand-new stadium and the Chennai crowd is very knowledgeable and passionate about the game. Playing in Chennai is very different from other venues. The hospitality of the people, how the crowd responds to hockey stars and the energy they bring to every match is incredible,” added Raghunath.

The Arjuna awardee additionally hailed Hockey India for taking worldwide hockey to completely different venues within the nation. He mentioned, “This gives states a great opportunity to develop infrastructure. Also, kudos to the Tamil Nadu government for taking up this responsibility to host such a big event in the Asian hockey calendar. I wish more such tournaments would come to India and different states should put their hand up to host it.”Speaking about India’s possibilities on the prestigious occasion, Raghunath mentioned, “The Asian Champions Trophy this time will be a psychological contest. Every team will be coming into the tournament to test their team before the Asian Games and India in their current form should finish on the top.”Lastly, Raghunath urged visiting groups to take in the tradition and heritage of Chennai and he believes the collaborating Asian nations will benefit from the native delicacies. “There are some very beautiful places in Chennai. The teams should utilize rest days to go around the city and enjoy the culture. Many of these teams like Malaysia and Japan like spicy food, and I’m sure they will enjoy what Chennai has to offer,” he signed off, wishing the groups the very best. (ANI)