Odisha boosts grassroots hockey development with 22 new training centres

Bhubaneswar: Odisha, known for its passion for hockey, has set up 22 new Hockey Training Centres (HTCs) for grassroots development, an official source said.

The HTCs have been set up by state Sports and Youth Services Department (DSYS) in partnership with Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC with the aim to nurture a large spectrum of hockey talent from the State and provide early exposure to synthetic turfs.

The active turfs include Bonoi, Tangarpalli, Bargaon, Bisra, Lahunipada, Lathikata, Lephripada, Subdega, Balisankara-Tileikani, Balisankara-Sonamara, Nuagaon, Kutra, Gurundia, Kuarmunda, Kukuda in Sundargarh, Jajpur town in Jajpur, Jujumura in Sambalpur and Chattrapur in Ganjam districts.

Four more HTCs are all set to be operational soon.

Presently, 18 centres are operational and have about 1,300 kids who are being imparted training on the synthetic turfs. Each HTC has two coaches engaged under this development programme.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik emphasised the importance of sports development in the region during his recent visit to Sundargarh. He expressed his vision to nurture a wide range of sports talents from the district and nearby regions.

Projects launched during his visit were aimed at achieving the goal of providing better infrastructure, training facilities, and opportunities for the youth interested in sports. In line with this vision, the DSYS has ensured that the HTCs are well-equipped with required training equipment, conditioning items and first-aid requirements that will enable the holistic development of Hockey from grassroots to elite.

The HTCs have deployed well-trained coaches who are experts in grassroots development and have undergone training with David John, Director of Hockey for Odisha.

DSYS, along with Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High-Performance Centre (ONTHHPC), have been pivotal in training local junior coaches to train young champions from different districts of Odisha.

“In the next few months, club-level championships will be conducted every weekend after all the HTCs become operational. Such championships are quite active in countries like US, Australia and UK, and are successful in engaging talents. Here too, kids will benefit from the initiative,” John stated.

Project Director of the ONTHHPC Rajiv Seth highlighted the centre’s commitment to developing young talent and promoting hockey in the state. The ONTHHPC will provide coaches and processes at HTCs across Odisha to expose young children to synthetic turf from an early age and facilitate their smooth transition to higher-level hockey.

The HPC has created a coaching education pathway for all its grassroots coaches and supports them with several workshops and exposure tours. The HTC initiative showcases the HPC’s dedication to advancing the sport and cultivating budding hockey players.

DSYS is engaging schools, communities and district/zilla parishads for maximum participation.

The designated team is also inviting schools in urban areas to engage their teams for hockey training and development. The objective is to ensure the HTCs are functional and are very well utilised by the local kids from the nearby vicinity.

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