The unveiling of “Bomman” as the mascot for the upcoming Hockey Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai is a significant and heartwarming event. The mascot draws inspiration from the Oscar-winning documentary “The Elephant Whisperers,” which tells the touching story of Bomman caring for orphaned baby elephant Raghu, along with Bellie, in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. This choice of mascot is a symbol of strength, intelligence, and teamwork, qualities that not only represent the majestic Asian elephant but also the attributes that athletes in the tournament should possess.
The tournament, known as the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023, will take place at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Hockey Stadium in Egmore. It is a precursor to the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games in September, making it an essential event for hockey players and fans across the continent.
Tamil Nadu Sports minister Udhayanidhi Stalin said, “I am honoured to present Bomman, the mascot of the event. The mascot is inspired by the heart-warming story of indigenous couple Bomman and Bellie who have cared for orphaned elephants in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. I believe this is a great way to value their contribution and create awareness among the athletes who participate in this prestigious event.”
“The mascot has been developed keeping the public in mind. Like the mascot Olly in Odisha which draws attention to the olive ridley turtles, we wanted to have a mascot that strikes a chord with everyone, fans of hockey and the general public alike,” Hockey India President Dilip Tirkey said.
The participating teams will include some of the top hockey-playing nations in Asia, such as India, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan, and China. The matches are expected to be highly competitive as each team vies for honors and showcases their skills and teamwork.
India, as the host nation, will have a busy schedule during the group stage. They will play their first match against China on 3rd August, followed by a match against Japan on 4th August. After a short rest, India will face off against Malaysia on 6th August and then compete against Korea on 7th August. Their last match of the group stage will be against Pakistan on 9th August.
This tournament will mark a special moment for Chennai and Tamil Nadu as it signifies the return of hockey to the region after 16 years since the city last hosted the Asia Cup in 2007. The presence of Tamil Nadu government ministers, officials, and Hockey India administrative officials at the unveiling of the mascot indicates the significance and support the event holds for the region and the sport of hockey in the country. The ticket sales for the matches are likely to attract hockey enthusiasts and create a vibrant and exciting atmosphere at the stadium during the tournament.
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