The High Performance Centre (HPC) for hockey in Odisha is set to induct 30 boys in the coming months in its bid to take the sport to the elite level, state’s Sports Minister Tushar Kanti Behera said on Friday.
It was decided following a promising start to the girls program at the Naval Tata Hockey Academy Odisha.
The HPC is an ambitious program to take hockey from its existing 10 grassroots centres and three regional development centres (Bhubaneswar, Panposh and Sundergarh) to elite level over the next 3 to 5 years.
“We are seeing positive results in the girls program and are confident that the HPC will be able to provide similar focus and professional training to the boys too. They all are young, skilful and have a natural flair for hockey,” Behera said.
“We will evaluate the players individually at the HPC, and match their skills with appropriate training at the world-class facilities here in Bhubaneswar.
“Training early at a synthetic turf vis-a-vis grass pitches will benefit these players immensely,” the minister said.
The state’s Department of Sports and Youth Services also plans to set up a number of synthetic turfs in identified locations at Sundergarh.
“These are very constructive times for hockey in the state and for the youth of the state.
“Most of these young talents from Odisha are inspired by their heroes in the sport who hail from in and around their region, including hockey legend Dilip Tirkey, Lazarus Barla, Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas to name a few,” Behera said.
The HPC at the Naval Tata Hockey Academy Odisha was launched by Odisha government in partnership with Tata Steel and Tata Trusts.