India striker Selvam Karthi will be a part of the Tamil Nadu men’s hockey team that will participate in the 37th National Games to be held in Goa from October 25 to November 9.
The 22-year-old from Ariyalur will join the 40-day preparatory hockey training camp, which begins at the SDAT-Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium here on September 15 after the national team leaves for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“Karthi’s presence will be very big. It’s a great boost for the other TN players. He can attack and defend. Our chances are brighter with his inclusion in the National Games. We hope to be on the podium, and if happens to be our day, we can even win gold,” Charles Dixon, Tamil Nadu’s head coach, told Sportstar.
At the camp, there will be four teams training at the Egmore stadium. The state men’s and women’s teams will prepare for the National Games, and the sub-junior (boys and girls) teams will prepare for the National sub-junior championships to be held here from October 17 to 24.
For the first time, the state women’s team will be taking part in the National Games, despite finishing ninth (among 12 teams) in the previous Senior National Women’s Championships in Kakinada, as only the top eight teams qualify for the National Games.
Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu president Sekar J Manoharan said: “Indian Olympic Association decided that it will be top 10 teams from the last Senior Nationals and not top 8, which was the practice earlier. We (The women’s team) are targeting the semifinals.”
Charles conceded that the Tamil Nadu men’s team performance in the 94th MCC-Murugappa All-India invitation hockey tournament held recently was a bit of a disappointment, but reasoned that it was due to senior and better players playing for different teams in the tournament.
“Now all the players who missed out will play in the National Games and this is the best team we’ve got,” he said.