Juniors among favourites in Hobart

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updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Hyderabad :

In contrast to the senior hockey team right now, which just about scraped through to a place in the World Cup, the juniors are a completely different story. They leave for Australia this weekend for the big one and as the runners-up in the last World Cup, they are once again among the favourites. The top 16 teams in the world will be on display in Hobart when the Junior World Cup kicks off and the Indian camp is confident of a good show after working hard on their weaknesses in a month long camp which ends on Friday. "We are a little weaker in the penalty corner conversion aspect and in field goals, but we are working hard to improve these," said Rajinder Singh, chief coach of the junior Indian hockey team. The juniors, besides the runners-up result last time around, won the inaugural under-18 Asia Cup held at Malaysia in June this year, then finished runners-up in the six-nation challenge in August, while claiming the bronze in the five-nation invitational tournament in August. "The boys have a good mental toughness, so they're doing better and the good thing is that we are together as a team. Nobody thinks like I'm coming from the senior team, nothing like that. Everybody mixes up very well," expressed Indian junior team captain Gagan Ajit Singh. The team will first go to Sydney where they will play a few warm-up games before leaving for Hobart on October 5 to get acclimatized to the cold conditions there, they play their first match against Scotland in Pool C on October 9.