Khunti, Jharkhand | October | 22, 2016 :: Tata Hockey Academy, under the aegis of Tata Trusts and its associate organization Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (CInI), will host the grand finale of the Interschool Hockey League 2016 under the Tata Hockey Academy. The month-long league, organised in the tribal district of Khunti in Jharkhand, is a part of efforts to professionalize field hockey at the grassroots level to bring back its erstwhile glory under the larger Mission 2020 programme – ‘Lakhpati Kisan : Smart Villages’.
“I’m really proud of what we all have achieved with Tata Trusts and CInI and it’s a great start for the Tata Hockey Academy. It’s great to see so many enthusiastic and talented kids and trainers – great potential for Indian hockey,” said Floris Jan Bovelander, Olympic and World Hockey Campion, who is also a member of the Executive Board of One Million Hockey Legs.
The semi-final and final matches of both the girls’ and boys’ teams will be held on Sunday, October 23, 2016 at Birsa College Ground in Khunti, 9 am onwards. Eminent personalities, namely Sandeep Singh (Indian Men’s Hockey team player) and Sumrai Tete (former Indian women’s hockey player), will be special invitees for the event.
“Tata Trusts has a decade long history of being associated with sports in a multitude of ways. We are extremely honoured and proud to see young children embrace the sport of hockey with energy and passion. Our efforts lie in fueling the hopes and aspirations of these young underserved children, through our work at the grassroots level. We also expect to nurture their talents by providing them with state of the art training and facilities. Our vision is to develop world class hockey players for our country,” said Anand Datla, Consultant – Sports Portfolio, Tata Trusts.
This first-of-its-kind hockey league in Khunti is organised by the Tata Hockey Academy in partnership with Tata Trusts (India’s oldest Philanthropic Organisation that works towards Making a Sustainable Difference in communities in India), Bovelander Hockey Academy (founded by Dutch hockey legend and Olympian Floris Jan Bovelander), One Million Hockey Legs (Netherlands-based initiative with Floris Jan Bovelander on the Executive Board) and Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (an initiative of Tata Trusts working towards Mission 2020: Lakhpati Kisan, Smart Villages).
“We are excited to have the hockey league organized for the children who are part of our focused education programme under the Tata Trusts – CInI Mission 2020 – ‘Lakhpati Kisan : Smart Villages’ initiative. Including sports with the education interventions is going to help the children enhance their skills, which is one of the aspects towards enhancing the overall quality of life of tribal communities,” said Ganesh Neelam, Executive Director, CInI and Head of Innovations portfolio, Tata Trusts.
Dutch coaches were brought in to train their domestic counterparts for quality training and facilitation leading up to the league stage. For the past four months, the initiative has also been providing regular training to students after school hours in order to inculcate a competitive spirit and nurture talented youngsters to become professional players for their state in the future and subsequently, for India.
The month long-league witnessed enthusiastic participation of over 960 students from 32 schools in the region. The league kicked off with inaugural matches on 24th September, 2016. The boys’ teams were divided into five pools and the girls’ teams into four pools with matches being held over the weekends at nine different venues across Khunti.