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. Tata Steel confirmed the same.
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 17th November 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 & Youth Services, Govt. of Odisha, 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 today 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 Dillip Tirkey, Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President Corporate Services, Tata Steel, and Chairman, Hockey Ace Foundation (HAF) and Goutam Mukherjee, CEO, HAF.
On the occasion, two grassroots centres, in Dhenkanal and Deogarh, were also launched, thus taking the tally of grassroots centres to 12 with 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 & Girls) reached through the grassroots initiative as on date.
On the occasion, Tusharkanti Behera, Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Electronics & IT, Govt of Odisha, said: "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."
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 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.”
The HPC will add few more boys and girls to their existing vacancies post April 2021 for which another set of trials will be planned. At present, 30 girls from Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam, Punjab, Manipur, and Uttar Pradesh are being given education under the Resident Programme.
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. Padma Shri Dillip 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 & support staff for Boys vertical to ensure dedicated attention to each cadet.
The Department of Sports & Youth Services extended all assistance in the successful execution of this massive exercise in these difficult times.
The HPC, established by the Department of Sports & Youth Services, Govt. of Odisha, in partnership with HAF (Hockey Ace Foundation) and under the aegis of Tata Trusts and Tata Steel, was launched on August 13, 2019, by the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik, along with Mr T. V. Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel.
This elite HPC has been opened in Bhubaneswar as part of the three-pronged Tata Odisha Hockey Programme, a joint initiative of Tata Steel, Tata Trusts and Government of Odisha to nurture sports talent in the State, which is already being hailed as a cradle for the sport.
The HPC is named in the honour of Naval H. Tata to commemorate his contribution to Hockey in India, his achievements as an outstanding sports administrator and passion for sports. Naval H. Tata held prestigious positions such as President of the All India Council of Sports (AICS), President of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for fifteen years and Vice Chairman of the International Hockey Federation (IHF).