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Mecca of Hockey forbidden a berth in National team

Date : March 11th, 2010
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Sports University at SundargarhIf hockey has continued to fetch sporting glory for India in the post Dhyan Chand era, it is Sundargarh to be acclaimed for this. The tribal-populated district of Odisha has proven its claim with producing around 50 junior and senior international players in both men & women segments. Even the time was there when four players from Sundargarh were representing in national team.

But it’s a pity that when India is hosting the World Cup, the hockey fraternity of the district and the state is feeling emotionally betrayed as no one from the state was given a berth in the Indian team. However, the fans here are not so fumed because the hockey fraternity aware that except Roshan Minz, all the state probable were down with injuries. Shrugging off the WC distress, former players, under the leadership of Dilip Tirkey, have come forward to revive the spirit and the glory of the game. In this context miserable performance of the Indian Hockey Team in WC-2010 has become an insult to the injury for the sports lovers.

The history reveals, hockey was introduced to Odisha by the missionaries, who conducted matches to introduce the game to the locals. Providentially for India, what was started as a recreation turned out to be a love affair for the tribal inhabitants here, who were gifted athletes.
Love for the game was such that even shaky ground, bamboo sticks and cotton balls could not dissuade hockey from producing excellent skill, keen competition and ample of public passion. Inter-village and intra-district tourneys brought talents to the fore and successful players and teams were encouraged by being awarded kukuda (cock) and khasi (goat) as prizes.

Revamping started with the setting up of hockey hostels and astro turfs by the government from mid eighties. Trained youngsters proved their mettle in national-level tournaments.

Among the talented players from the District Dilip Tirkey, Lazarus Barla, Ignace Tirkey, Prabodh Tirkey, Peter Tirkey, William Xalxo, Roshan Minz, Amardeep Ekka, Birendra Ekka, Jyoti Sunita Kullu, Subhadra Pradhan, Anupa and Binita played in almost all major senior / junior global championships. Dilip is now the highest capped international player. He along with Ignace, Probodh and Kullu led In¬dia and among the four already have three Arjuna Awards and two Padmashrees.

Besides creating a medium for expression of sporting dexterity, hockey has proved to be a dignified profession, providing employment to more than 1,000 young people across the country.

Thanks to a century-old relationship with hockey, Odisha is now reckoned as a leading state in the game, possessing descent infrastructure with three astro turfs (two in Rourkela including one of SAIL and one in Sundargarh), three government-run training centres (hostels at Rourkela, Sundargarh and Cuttack), one SAIL managed training centre at Rourkela and more than 500 trained players.

Able management is the need of the hour for further improvement of the game. Observers believe that Odisha Hockey Association should pilot in taking the game to more youngsters, organising more domestic tournaments. The efforts should be given to host National and international tournaments here as three well equipped grounds are available in Sundargarh District. Hockey aficionados also seek engagement of more coaches / trainers for proper guidance of youngsters and refresher courses for coaches to keep them well-run with the latest trends in the game. But what everyone urges done first is the completion of the State Hockey Academy at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar without further delay. Simultaneously the steps should be triggered of for setting up a Sports University with speciality on Hockey in Sundargarh District in association with National Hockey Academy and Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports. Otherwise it would be no late for mecca of hockey to be a barren place for Hockey for both Odisha and India.

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2 Responses

  1. TAPAS PATTNAIK says:

    this website may help outsiders and rourkelites to get more information about our great city rourkela..

  2. Bijay Kr Bhuyan says:

    The calm,cool but physically strong and laborious tribal s of Sundergarh have nurtured the Indian hockey team in a great fashion but have never been recognized by the Nation in a proper way as required to be as a result of nasty politics and partiality at the national level associations and also due to lack of strong Odia lobby at the center.The absence of players of Sundergarh was clearly felt at the miserable debacle of Indian hockey team at the recently concluded World Cup.I think people from every corner of the society , particularly Corporate houses and Media houses and elected representatives should come forward to support the players for bringing back the lost glory of Indian Hockey.

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