Narendrapur : The Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre is playing a key role in promoting grassroots hockey in Dhenkanal, Odisha. Opened in January 2021, the Dhenkanal Hockey Grassroot Center has already trained around 300 players from different parts of the Dhenkanal district.
The Hockey High Performance Centre (HPC) provides quality training for young hockey players, with locally based coaches and regular visits by central HPC coaches to the Grassroots centre in Dhenkanal. Around 185 boys and 115 girls between the ages of 10 and 17 are being trained.
One of the players Amaresh Kabi Dhenkanal, says: “I have been playing hockey for the last three years, inspired by the growing popularity of the sport. At first, I was very nervous, but with the guidance of our coach, I gradually gained more confidence. My goal is to represent our country at the national level someday.”
The Grassroot Hockey Centre, Dhenknal has already scripted great success, with the girls’ team winning the inter-district tournament and the boys’ team securing third place in the sub-junior level inter-district tournament in the state. Dhenkanal Centre is doing very well in its debut appearance in the famous Odisha Naval Tata Grassroots league 2022-23 for boys and girls. Several players from the Centre have excelled at various levels and have even represented Utkal University at all-India camps.
Babula Prasad Mohanty, a renowned hockey player and Saiprasad Dalei are regular coaches deputed for the centre. Also, Florencia Eka from Department of Sports, Govt of Odisha lends her support.
Babula Prasad Mohanty, says; “Thanks to this Grassroot Hockey Centre, we could easily access hockey equipment like sticks and balls, which drew many students to the sport. Our students have participated in various tournaments and gained valuable experience and recognition.”
Rajiv Seth, Project Director, Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Center, says: We coach cadets at 14 Grassroots centres in Odisha, in partnership with the Sports Department of Government of Odisha. The best players can join the HPC resident programme or Government-run sports hostels in the State. They will be trained to play in top tournaments and maybe for India. We also plan to open more centres in Odisha as per the Government’s vision – Sports for Youth, Youth for Future.”
The HPC’s efforts in promoting hockey in Odisha have been evident in the selection of six cadets for the Indian National Junior Women’s camp in the past one year, with four of these girls making their international debut for the country in the Uniphar U’23 5-Nation Women Tournament held in Ireland in 2022.
The Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC was inaugurated in 2019 as a joint initiative between the Sports Department of the Government of Odisha, Tata Steel and Tata Trusts at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Over the years, the HPC has expanded across the State, grooming over 2,200 young trainees with the assistance of 30 experienced coaches. The expansion includes the establishment of two types of Grassroots centres- The HTC Astro Turf centres in 22 locations out of which 18 are operational and grass pitch centres are in 5 different locations.