Hockey India, the governing body for hockey in India, has been working very hard to grow, support and sustain the sport in India, especially at the grassroots. Despite the honour of being the national sport of the country, Hockey suffers due to a lack of interest from new players, which boils down to a lack of a strong grassroots structure.
That is precisely the reason behind Hockey India appointing former Indian Team coach B J Kariappa as the technical director of Hockey India’s Associated Academies. Hockey India supports all associated academies and in order to ensure that its support is being put to the best possible use, it conducts inspection visits to each of these academies every three months.
There are 13 academies associated with Hockey India. One such academy is the Rural Development Trust's Hockey Academy that finds its home at the Anantapur Sports Village. Located along the highway from Anantapur to Bangalore, this campus packs a pleasant surprise to almost each and everyone of its visitors, and Hockey Coach Kariappa was no different to this phenomenon as this was his first visit to the campus.
His visit to the campus was initially a mere performance inspection visit as directed by Hockey India, to review the facility, observe players and ensure the facility is running as per the norms laid down by Hockey India. But as Coach Kariappa set foot into the campus, he was wowed by the academy and the skill possessed by its pupils. He appreciated the campus and the facility while talking to the ASA hockey coaches, acknowledging the talent the ASA manages to spot, and the skills it nurtures and grooms.
He also took time out to train the hockey teams. On one of the days of his visit, he trained the boys team in the morning, while taking a session with the girls in the evening. On the following day the excited students were involved in a morning session with Coach Kariappa, who worked on a fitness and strength session for the boys, and a skills session with the ASA hockey girls.
Coach Kariappa was all praise for the academy and its girls and boys, highlighted the fact that theseplayers possess very good knowledge and skills, the only factor lacking being the experience of regularly playing on a hockey Astro- turf.