Kolkata, Nov 25 (UNI) India and Pakistan will clash in the 12th Asian Roller Hockey Championship to be held in the city from November 28 to December 2, even as their cricketing comrades are fighting it out in another field.
The two sides would meet at the improvised skating rinks at the SAI Eastern complex a day prior to the Eden Test. India clearly would be the favorites this time round, enjoying a superior ranking at the Asian level. The hosts are ranked second at the Asian circuit.
But the Indians were expected to face stiff opposition from traditional powerhouse Macau.
The other teams in the fray were Japan, China, Chinese Taipei and Iran with Hong Kong and Singapore pulling out their team at the last moment because of the meaningless violence in the Kolkata streets last week.
The president of the Roller Skating Association of India (RSFI) Pradeep Ganeriwala said, ''It has been my dream to organise an International meet in India for the last two decades. At last we are going to have it here. With skating being a part of the 2010 Asian Games, I am sure our popularity will increase many fold.'' The final and the semi-finals would be shown live by the national broadcaster, adding a bit more spunk to the meet.
Speaking about India's chances, Ganeriwala said: ''I will only to be satisfied with gold. We are number two in Asia and also the hosts, so it is going to be advantage India for change.'' UNI