Twenty teams comprising 300 children including 150 girls displayed their skills in front of Australian coaches at Gomardih in Kutra block of Sundargarh district in Odisha during a hockey carnival organised by Tata Steel.
Tata Steel in association with Hockey Australia, the governing body of hockey in Australia, has been conducting a grass-root hockey development programme ‘Hooking2Hockey’ among school children since July 2016 around Gomardih of Sundargarh, the district which has produced some of the best known hockey players.
The children aged between 7 to 10, 15 boys and 15 girls each from 10 schools, around Gomardih, where the steel major has its dolomite mine, were given a preliminary training by a 3-member team of Hockey Australia in July 2016.
Ten coaches from the same schools who were also trained earlier by the Australian team, guided the students.
The venue of the carnival organised yesterday wore a festive look as the youngsters clad in colourful jerseys clashed with each other. Finally tow teams, one each among the boys and the girls were declared as winners, a company release said.
James Liggins, participation coordinator of Hockey Australia and his team mate Tom Winter supervised the matches among the children. The best performers will be further trained to help them get selected for joining Sports Hostel of Odisha government.
The winning and runner up teams were felicitated by Sita Devi Majhi, Kutra block tehsildar, who appreciated the initiative. Commending Tata Steel for the programme, Tej Kumar Xesh, district sports officer, Sundergarh said guiding the children at such an early stage will help shape their skills in future.
Captain (retd) Amitabh, Head, Skill Development, Tata Steel, who has been coordinating the programme said the initiative is aimed to attract the youngsters towards hockey.
Happy with the learning ability of the children, James Liggins of Hockey Australia said he is looking forward to further sharpening the skills of the young talent who will be selected for the next round of training, the release added.