Official launch for Naval hockey cradle

Jamshedpur: The Naval Tata Hockey Academy was finally inaugurated on Friday 2 March 2018, eight months after it was launched in July last year.

Ratan N. Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts, completed the formalities in presence of Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran, Tata Steel global CEO T.V. Narendran, vice-president (corporate services) Sunil Bhaskaran and Dutch hockey legend Floris Jan Bovelander at Indian Steel and Wire Products (ISWP) Sports Complex near Telco.

Tata also laid the foundation stone for the new residential building of the cradle.

The world class academy is named in honour of Naval. H. Tata to commemorate his contribution to hockey in India. Naval Tata was the president of All India Council of Sports and headed the Indian Hockey Federation for 15 years. He was also the vice-chairman of International Hockey Federation.

 Hockey cadets gear up for practice at ISWP Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Friday. (Bhola Prasad)

The academy was supposed to be inaugurated in August last year but had to be postponed due to the commitments of Tata.

Speaking on the occasion, Tata, son of the noted industrialist and philanthropist Naval Tata (1904-89), hoped that the academy would help in regaining the lost glory of the game in India.

He also got introduced to the cadets and their parents. An exhibition match was also played between the boys.

The Jamshedpur academy has been set up with technical aid from The Netherlands-based Bovelander Hockey Academy. At present, there are 24 cadets (14-16 age group) from Khunti, Simdega and West Singhbhum who have been trained by Dutch coaches and Indian hockey legend Sandeep Singh.

The cadets from Khunti are from feeder centres (hockey training centres) run by Tata Trusts in collaboration with Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (Cini) while their counterparts from West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan are from feeder centres run by Tata Steel Rural Development Society. The boys were selected after rigorous selection trials supervised by Bovelander and former India hockey captain Sandeep Singh.

The cadets will train at the academy for four years, which can be extended for another two years depending upon their performance.

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