Just as it was through Futsal, and 3x3 Basketball, Field Hockey is now launching its own shorter format of the game at the senior international level. On June 4, five men’s and women’s teams will descend upon Lausanne to compete in the inaugural FIH Hockey 5s.
This first edition is essentially an exhibition event in order to test the waters and perhaps make changes wherever required to help it snowball into a much bigger competition.
The Indians are doing their part in helping popularise the format by sending in a men’s and women’s team to compete at the quick-paced shorter format of the game, which will be a test of players’ individual skill and explosiveness.
The format had been hugely successful at the Youth Olympics in 2018, bringing in over 200,000 spectators. In Lausanne, it’ll be held at the Place de la Navigation, on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Here’s what you need to know about the event:
Only India, Poland and hosts Switzerland have sent a squad in both the men’s and women’s division, with nine players each.
The men’s roster consists of the three countries along with Pakistan and Malaysia - which will be led by Nabil Noor, a veteran with 239 caps for his country.
In the women’s event, South Africa - led by veteran of 241 caps Dirkie Chamberlain - and Uruguay have sent squads along with India, Switzerland and Poland.
Format and rules
The format for both men’s and women’s divisions is straight-forward. Each team plays the other once in a round robin, and then the top two teams compete in the final.
Unlike in regular 11-a-side hockey, the Hockey 5s takes place on a ‘court,’ not a ‘pitch.’
Each match lasts 20 minutes, with a two-minute half-time break at the 10-minute mark. The court is surrounded by perimeter boards and the ball can be played off those boards. According to the FIH, “the ball is in play for 90 percent of the time” since there is no real break unless there’s a foul or a goal scored.
Additionally, players can shoot once they cross the half-way line.
“While the 11-a-side format will always remain the absolute pinnacle of our sport, the early successes of Hockey5s – both as a high-octane spectator sport and as a development tool to grow hockey on a global level – makes us utterly determined to maximise the opportunities provided by this short-form version of our game,” FIH chief Narinder Batra said.
The men’s team includes Olympic bronze medallists Dilpreet Singh and Sumit, while Mumtaz Khan, who top scored for India at the Women’s Junior World Cup, lines up for the women’s team. India’s U-18 men’s squad won silver in the Hockey5s competition at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 with Malaysian men winning gold. India’s U-18 women’s squad won silver at Buenos Aires 2018, with Argentina women winning gold.
Gurinder Singh (Captain)
Sumit (Vice Captain)
Mohd Raheel Mouseen
Prashant Kumar Chauhan
Boby Singh Dhami
Captain Gurinder Singh: “It will require a lot of speed and skills. We’ve worked on short passes, 3D skills and the structure as well. The use of perimeter boards is a new element in this format, and we will try to take advantage of it. We have got three players in the team, who have played this format before, so their experiences have been really helpful for us in our preparations.”
Rajani Etimarpu (Captain/GK)
Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke
Mahima Choudhary (Vice-Captain)
Rutaja Dadaso Pisal
Suman Devi Thoudam
Captain Rajani Etimarpu: “All the teams are playing for the first time in this format. So, all the teams are expected to be at the same level. We want to go and play hockey, showcase our skills, and enjoy ourselves. We are glad and excited to play in FIH Hockey 5s. We have worked hard on the training grounds, and have tried to adjust our game plan as per the format. We hope we can give Uruguay and Poland a tough contest on the first day of the competition,” Rajani added.— via Hockey India
Schedule for India matches
June 4: India vs Switzerland - 18:30 hrs IST
June 4: India vs Pakistan - 20:30 hrs IST
June 5: Inida vs Malaysia - 16:30 hrs IST
June 5: India vs Poland - 18:30 hrs IST
Men’s final: June 5, 22:00 hrs
June 4: India vs Uruguay - 18:00 hrs IST
June 4: India vs Poland - 20:00 hrs IST
June 5: India vs Switzerland - 18:00 hrs IST
June 5: Inida vs South Africa - 20:00 hrs IST
Women’s final: June 5, 21:30 hrs IST
Where to watch
All matches will be streamed live on Watch.Hockey as well as Disney+Hotstar and Star Sports Network in India as mentioned in the tweet above.
Hockey5s introduction, rules, guide to the format, and more here.