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Ten Sports promotes hockey tournament on ground, on air

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MUMBAI: After a lengthy quiet period, Ten Sports is all set to connect with viewers in a big way not just on air but also on ground.

The channel, which has exclusive telecast rights to the hockey's premiere tournament, the Champions Trophy, is making a big play around the event to be held from 16-24 August in The Netherlands.

Before the tourney itself kicks off however, Ten is hoping to get fans into the groove and will pull at their patriotic heart strings from today onwards.

Coinciding with Independence Day which falls tomorrow, a series of promo's My heart beats for India sees the players talking about their most emotional moments while playing for the country.

For instance, coach Rajinder Singh reminisces about his Olympic success in 1980, as well as his role in helping India to its only Bronze medal in the Champions Trophy in 1982. At the same time, he believes that as a coach, he might well better that performance at this edition of the event.

The current Indian skipper Dhanraj Pillay recollects great moments against Pakistan. For Dilip Tirkey, a man of few words, the heart breaking loss to Poland in the final group match of the 2000 Olympics remains etched in memory. Goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan talks about his brilliant performance against Pakistan in the semi final of the 2002 Asian Games and his stellar efforts in thwarting the great Sohail Abbas.

Ten Sports' marketing manager Mohit Mehra said: "Apart from the on-air efforts, we have extended these to an on-ground promotion called Go India Go running in all the major metro's. High traffic areas will be telecasting the matches on large screens. Specially designed Ten Sports bandanna's with Go India Go branding will be given away to viewers along with other special offers."

"The fact that the telecast times for the matches are at prime-time is a big help. Champions Trophy Hockey 2003 has received some excellent support from advertisers with Hero Honda stepping in as the presenting sponsor. Hutch, Toyota, HPCL, Asian Paints and Titan are the associate sponsors," adds Mehra.

The channel has also coined nicknames for the players. Mehra said, "The objective of all our efforts has been to glamourise the sport and the players. As you know people react to characters and stars and we have tried to build up the hockey players as characters by using some facet of their playing skills. We feel that the nicknames we have used will help more people relate to them. The names really reflect the special quality of the players depending on their role. We feel that this might inspire youngsters to emulate them and have more people taking up the sport."

For instance Chauhan has been designated "Spiderman" on account of his athleticism and agility to keep out the opposition. The team's "Terminator" is Deepak Thakur. One of the best finishers in modern hockey once he gets into the "D" his conversion rate of moves into goals is as high. The "Leech" Viren Rasquinha is one of the unsung heroes of the team. His passes from the midfield and man marking skills make him one of the key players in the team. Pillay is the "Wizard".

The "Speed Demon" Gagan Ajit Singh has the enviable ability to accelerate. Dilip Tirkey is nicknamed "The Rock" as his defence is rock solid. "Dragon" Jugraj Singh's speciality is the drag flick which is one of most potent penalty corner conversion techniques.

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