Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], January 22 (ANI): The Odisha Naval Tata Hockey high-performance centre (HPC), set-up in Bhubaneswar with a vision to groom the upcoming sporting talent in hockey and produce world-class sportspersons, has commenced its boys' resident programme at the Kalinga Hockey Complex.
A total of 31 cadets have been selected for the programme. These players, in the age group of U-17 years, have been chosen from the two-week-long selection camp that was held from November 17 to 1st December 2020 in Bhubaneswar and was attended by 100 cadets.
While 21 players are from Odisha, seven are from Manipur, two from Uttar Pradesh and one from Assam. The Hockey HPC has also created a standby list of 8 (5 from Odisha) talented players.
The HPC has also recommended some players to sports hostels run by the Department of Sports and Youth Services, Odisha government, in Panposh and Sundargarh. These hostels are also Regional Development Centres and serve as a stepping stone to the Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC.
The formal inauguration was held on Friday at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, and was attended by the Chief Guest Tusharkanti Behera, Minister of Sports & Youth Services, Electronics and IT, Govt. of Odisha along with Vishal Kumar Dev, Principal Secretary, Sports & Youth Services and Tourism, Govt of Odisha, Padma Shri Awardee Dilip Tirkey, Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President Corporate Services, Tata Steel, and Chairman, Hockey Ace Foundation (HAF) and Goutam Mukherjee, CEO, HAF.
Tusharkanti Behera, Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Electronics and IT, Govt of Odisha, said in a statement, "I am delighted to be here for the inauguration of the boys' resident programme at the Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC. I congratulate each and every cadet who has successfully cleared the selection trials and has been inducted into our Hockey High-Performance Centre."
"This is an elite opportunity and platform for you to excel in Hockey and you should feel extremely proud. This is the first step towards achieving your sporting dreams. This HPC will play a crucial role and along with experienced and expert coaches will endeavour to groom you all into future national and international players," he added.
On the occasion, two grassroots centres, in Dhenkanal and Deogarh, were also launched, thus taking the tally of grassroots centres to 12 with the deployment of 25 coaches including a lady coach recruited to promote women coaches in the grassroots as well.
The footfall at these two centres should increase the overall tally to about 2500 young trainees (Boys and Girls) reached through the grassroots initiative as on date.
Chanakya Chaudhary, Chairman, Hockey Ace Foundation, and Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, said: "Tata Steel has always been committed to encouraging a culture of sports in the country. The youth of Odisha have the abundant sporting talent and it is our endeavour to provide the best-in-class sporting facilities and training centres to hone their skills."
"Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC is not only a high-performance centre but also an institution where we nurture the young talent and shape their careers. We are pleased to initiate the resident programme for boys and two grassroots centres which will further enhance our journey towards a promising future of hockey in the country," he added.
Earlier, the selection for the boys' resident programme was undertaken by HPC's Technical Director Warner Ven Der'Vegt (also the Technical Director of Bovelander Hockey Academy & Hockey Ace Foundation) and P Lakshminarayan, Head Coach, Hockey HPC.
Dilip Tirkey had also paid a visit during the final selection trials and gave his valuable inputs to coaches. Dutch legend and HPC's technical partner Floris Bovelander was consulted and duly involved in the process of final selection though he could not be present due to international travel restrictions.
Hockey HPC has also recruited additional qualified coaching and support staff for boys vertical to ensure dedicated attention to each cadet. (ANI)