Mumbai, February 2016
Tata Trusts, a philanthropic organisation that works towards the holistic advancement of communities in India, has partnered with Bovelander Hockey Academy and One Million Hockey Legs, to promote hockey as a culture and tradition. The Trusts wishes to galvanize the sport through professionalization of grassroots level hockey in the country.
In line with Tata Trusts' history in sports and in support of the Indian Olympics, the partnership with Bovelander Hockey Academy, founded by Floris Jan Bovelander, will help in re-establishing the sport by matching global expertise with existing field level implementation structures and key partnerships. Floris Jan Bovelander is also on the Executive Board of One Million Hockey Legs, whose mission is to increase the number of children and adults playing hockey and to develop sustained passion for hockey by introducing the game to pre-teenaged and early teenaged children.
Mr. R. Venkataramanan, Executive Trustee, Tata Trusts stated, "At the Trusts we view sports as a vehicle for social change. Often, we look at all the developing sector as a supply driven area but sports, on the contrary, is generating demand which unites people. It is indeed a great honour to partner with a legend of the sport. We are currently working with a lot of schools around Jharkhand and across the country in more traditional areas such as health and education, and hope to enhance our programmes with what this partnership has to offer."
Towards their vision, Tata Trusts is instituting a 'Tata Hockey Academy' in Jamshedpur, and is developing a school hockey programme which will focus on building training aptitude of coaches through comprehensive training by international experts and coaches. It will also extend to inter-school events and competitions to build competitive spirit and nurture talented youngsters, with school level hockey programs covering approximately 50,000 school children across 200 school teams. Within a span of three years, One Million Hockey Legs will provide the technical expertise to train 50,000 school boys and girls in hockey to raise overall expertise of players at the preliminary level.
"This initiative will promote hockey and sustain it as a national sport in India. We aim to train from the grass-root level and our goal is to reach million hockey legs in the 2018 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in India. Sports have an immense impact on the minds and we endeavour to impart true sportsmanship as well as the art of winning and losing. We are very happy and hopeful about this initiative." – said Floris Jan Bovelander, Olympic and World Hockey Champion, Assistant Coach to the Dutch National Team and member of the Executive Board of One Million Hockey Legs.
International coaches will be brought in to train their domestic equivalents for quality training, exercise schedules and player motivation. Annual exposure visits will be arranged for coaches to understand the Dutch model, inculcating best practices into the quality of coaching provided at the academy. Players will be trained to become professional players in the future for their state and subsequently, for India. It will also have a social programme component which will teach children the importance of nutrition, healthcare, sanitation and safety.