Monday, February 6, 2023

Ratan Tata inaugurates Hockey Academy in Jamshedpur


NTHA aims at producing five hockey international players in the next 10 years

Jamshedpur: Tata Trusts and Tata Steel have established the Naval Tata Hockey Academy (NTHA) at Jamshedpur, a world-class high performance residential hockey training facility for 14-to-16 year-old boys. The Academy was inaugurated on the eve of the Founder’s Day celebration by Ratan N. Tata, chairman, Tata Trusts.

The academy is named in honour of Naval H. Tata to commemorate his contribution to hockey in India, his achievements as an outstanding sports administrator and passion for sports. 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).

The Naval Tata Hockey Academy brings world-class facilities, including an FIH global quality artificial turf with floodlights, international coaches, a nutritionist, and mental and physical trainers to provide high performance hockey training, to begin with, to 26 boys from bastis and villages of Simdega, Khunti and West Singhbhum districts. This first batch of players have been selected after one year of rigorous training provided by Dutch coaches and Indian hockey legend, Sandeep Singh, at the grassroots level to over 5,000 boys and girls.

Through this, for the first time in India, a structured, high-quality international level training is being provided at the grassroots level, including playing on artificial turf, truly professionalising hockey at the grassroots.

In due course, the academy is slated to similarly train and select 26 girls from Jharkhand and transform them into hockey stars of tomorrow.

Tata Trusts and Tata Steel have partnered with the legendary Dutch drag-flicker, Floris Jan Bovelander, through the Bovelander Hockey Academy and the One Million Hockey Legs programme to coach both boys and girls. Bovelander is the first Technical Director of the Academy. At full scale, the Academy will have 52 boys and 52 girls training and playing competitively. Recognising the importance of receiving quality education, all the players will be admitted to schools as well and provided personal tutors to achieve academic excellence.

The added focus on developing life skills has already broken the ‘culture of silence’ in the selected players and made them confident youngsters, who are learning to dream big. In keeping with its tradition of bringing the global best, Tata Trusts and Tata Steel, have roped in a Dutch Architect firm to conceptualise and design the Academy. The Academy building is envisioned to meet international standards, with a distinct Indian identity. In the long term, the Academy and the artificial pitch will be further scaled up.

The academy will focus on revitalising hockey in Jharkhand and the tribal belt and aim at producing 5 hockey international players in the next 10 years.

We are happy to partner Tata Trusts in setting up this world class Hockey Academy. This is in line with our corporate ethos of promoting sports and also fostering the development of the community. Hockey is an extremely popular sport in the Eastern part of the country and the candidates being trained in the academy are budding talent from tribal hinterland (Khuniti & Simdega of West Singhbhum) of Jharkhand. We hope to produce world beaters at the international stage from this Academy”, said Mr. Sunil Bhaskaran, Vice President Corporate Services, Tata Steel.

“Hockey in India requires a paradigm shift which involves developing talent from the grassroots. This model will drive change by providing a level playing field so as to produce professionally trained players from Jharkhand who will be equipped to compete at par with their international counterparts. This initiative by Tata Trusts and Tata Steel will be a game-changer for hockey in India” said Mr. Arun Pandhi, Director- Implementation, Tata Trusts.

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