Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari on Tuesday said the 'Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh Memorial' hockey tournament has truly lived up to its expectations and over the years, the quality of play has continued to grow. "Over the years the quality of play and skill level has continued to grow and this tournament has uplifted the game of hockey to a level comparable to international standards," Chaudhari said.

He was speaking as the chief guest at the closing ceremony of the fifth edition of the tournament here.

In the final of the tournament, Punjab and Sind Bank defeated the Indian Air Force in a closely fought match 12-11 via penalty shootout.

At the end of regulation time, both teams were locked at 3-3.

PSB took an early lead in the first minute of the game, but IAF scored the equaliser via penalty corner in the sixth minute. IAF kept up the attack and scored another goal in the very next minute to make it 2-1. They then increased the lead to 3-1.

PSB scored their second goal in the final minute of first half (second quarter) and both were tied at 3-3.

Meanwhile, IAF chief Chaudhari said this tournament, like its previous editions, has generated great enthusiasm among the youth of the country and also in the sub-continent.

"We were privileged to host air force teams from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for this year's tournament," he said.

At the beginning of his speech, he said, "At the outset, I compliment both the teams for today's enthralling match that was befitting of a final. The competitive spirit, skills and sportsmanship displayed by all of you has been of very high standards."

He said all the matches in the tournament were played in true spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie.

He also congratulated all the coaches and support staff for having worked hard to bring out the best in their teams and make this event a grand success.

"For all those teams that could not get a podium finish, I would like to tell you do not get dishearten with the results. Take it as a challenge, put your best forward for the future by working on your performance. Aim to come back stronger, better and sharper next year," he said.

The tournament was played at Raghbir Singh Bhola Hockey Ground, 3 Base Repair Depot, Air Force Station.

Notably, Air Force Sports Control Board has been organising the tournament in memory of legendary late marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh at 3 BRD, Air Force Station, Chandigarh since 2018.

An icon of India's military history, Arjan Singh had successfully led the IAF during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Singh died on September 16, 2017, at the age of 98.

(With Agency Inputs)