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Tata Trusts & Tata Steel establish the Naval Tata Hockey Academy inaugurated by Mr. Ratan N. Tata

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Focussed on revitalising hockey in Jharkhand and the tribal belt; aims at producing 5 hockey international players in the next 10 years; over the next 4 years, will house 104 players (both girls and boys) in the age group of 14-16, Academy has a FIH Global artificial turf, international high-performance coaches, nutritionist, physical and mental trainers

Tata Trusts and Tata Steel has announced the establishment of 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 on March 2nd by Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts.

In keeping with the Tata group’s Founder, Jamsetji Tata’s vision for Jamshedpur to “reserve large areas for football, hockey and parks”, the Academy is yet another world class facility in the city. 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. Mr. 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 grassroot 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 artificial pitch has been constructed and laid by TigerTurf through its India and South Asia partner M/s Altius Sports and Leisure Private Limited.

Grassroots Programme
The grassroots programme is being implemented by Collectives for Integrated Livelihoods in India (CInI) – an Initiative of Tata Trusts, and the Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS), which are dedicated to holistic social and economic development in the region. Over the past year, the programme has covered close to 100 schools and approximately, 5000 children in Khunti, SImdega and West Singhbhum districts of Jharkhand. Former players from these districts, who have played at the district/state level, have been trained by Dutch coaches to upgrade their skills to modern hockey techniques. These former players are designated as “Master Trainers” and they train players twice a week. Inter-school tournaments, at the interval of six months are held and culminate into a Hockey festival. The Academy’s first batch of 26 players have been selected on the basis of their performance at school-level training, the inter-school tournaments, and evaluation by the coaches.

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.

Tata Trusts continues to build on its rich heritage, with sports as a means and accelerator for meaningful engagement with young children from marginalised sections of the society. With a view to helping India rediscover its glory in sports, Tata Trusts is incubating programmes in the field of hockey, football, cricket and archery for professionalising grass-root level sports and nurturing talent in India.

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