Hockey scores on a rural turf
If you think that there are no takers for the national game (hockey) in India, then a small school in the rural Chandrapur will force you to think the other way.
Vidarbha: In a country where the national hockey team sometimes has to struggle to find a place to conduct its coaching camps, a school 55 kilometers from the city of Chandrapur has opened its doors to the hockey aspirants of the region.
Sachin Raut, a former national level hockey player from Maharashtra is trying his best to show the world that India, even today does not in lack quality in hockey to compete at the international stage. Rising above the lack of training facilities, equipment, proper playgrounds and spaces to train, the village with its sole dedicated trainer has produced national level players such as Praveen Dhobale and Ninad Gawade.
Shivaji Sainik School currently houses the Bramhapuri Taluka Hockey Academy (BTHA). Started in 1990, the academy initially intended to teach aspiring rural sportsmen the basic technique of the game. However, in the past 22 years, the academy flourished and became the hub for hockey in Vidarbha. “Though we lack infrastructure, it is the passion and commitment from the players and the coaching staff that has helped the development of the game in this part of the state,” said Sachin.
The academy concentrates on the local players and includes players from other parts of the state if they show promise. Players who have made it to the big stage from the academy come back to train the prospective legends.
Like any other hockey academy in India, BTHA has also come under the scanner concerning its functioning because of the rift between the two hockey associations that exist. “It has been a very difficult few months for us, because of the rift at the central level,” said Sachin who has been running from pillar to post to bring better training facilities to the academy that is a house to almost 350 trainees. “The favouritism shown by the selection panel has held back many promising players,” Sachin laments.
Though the academy has been dribbling past panel politics and deprivation of resources, its achievements cannot go unnoticed.