Odisha CM inaugurates Naval Tata Hockey Academy

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday inaugurated the high-performance hockey centre – Naval Tata Hockey Academy (NTHA) that will groom the best hockey talent in the state into future national and international players.

This elite hockey academy 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 State government sports hostels in Bhubaneshwar, Sundargarh, and Rourkela will become the Regional Development Centres (RDCs), where experts engaged by Tata Trusts and Tata Steel will work with the RDCs to further enhance their efficiency and excellence.

10-20 grassroots centres will initially be established in Sambalpur and Sundargarh districts. The talent scouted from the grassroots centres will be recommended for admission into the sports hostels.

The grassroots centres and the RDCs will ensure a continuous flow of talent into NTHA. The government will help develop infrastructure in these regions to improve the quality of hockey players being fed into the RDCs and NTHA Odisha.

Young players from the community, who are enthusiastic and willing to work with children, will be trained and provided with career opportunities as trainers and coordinators in these centres.

The Academy was formally dedicated by the Chief Minister in the presence of  T.V. Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel and Tusharkanti Behera, state Sports Minister.

Vineel Krishna, Sports Director, Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President (Corporate Services), Tata Steel, and Burzis Taraporevala, Senior Advisor, Tata Trusts, also graced the occasion with their presence.

Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera said, “Bhubaneswar is fast emerging as the sports capital of India. With the establishment of NTHA Odisha, youth from the State will get the best-in-class training on artificial turf from an early age that will enable players to compete at par with their international counterparts.

This initiative will also help in making high-performance hockey coaches. Ultimately, this programme will increase the number of Odisha players in the National team representing India on the international stage.”

NTHA Odisha will be operated from the existing infrastructure that was set-up to host the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2018 in Bhubaneshwar. Access to the Abhinav Bindra Target Performance Centre, Bhubaneshwar, will provide the best sports medicine support to improve the performance of the players. 

T.V. Narendran said, “Tata Steel has always supported and encouraged sports as a vocation and a career. It is always our effort to nurture sporting talent by providing access to state-of-the-art sports facilities and rigorous training. Tata Steel has a significant connect with youth at the grass root level through various programmes. I am confident that the academy will enhance the efforts of the State to develop champions of the future.”

BurzisTaraporevala said, “Tata Trusts believe that sports are a means to enable holistic development, particularly for young children from marginalised sections. Promoting sports has the dual benefit of raising the standard of Indian sports as well as promoting livelihood opportunities for those in underdeveloped regions of the country. The unique feature of this programme is that education and excellence in sports, go hand in hand.”

Tata Trusts sports programmes envision to create a strong foundation at the grassroots level leading progressively towards the pursuit of excellence. The impetus is on developing the sports ecosystem. Based on this philosophy, in addition to hockey, the Trusts have programmes to support football (Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Manipur), badminton (Mizoram) and boxing (Manipur).

Bovelander Hockey Academy from the Netherlands, founded by the European Champion, World Champion and three time Olympian, Floris Jan Bovelander, is the technical partner to implement the programme.

The brand specialises in youth hockey development as well as in high-performance coaching. This technical partnership will ensure the training provided is at par with the international standards.

Floris Bovelander said, “It has been my privilege to work with the Tatas. My goal is to make sure all players in the programme develop the essential life skills and, of course, we will surely see some players from this academy reaching the National team and winning accolades for the State and the Nation.”

The Academy 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.

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).