Andreu Enrich, former Spanish International Hockey Player, dreams of producing an International Player from Anantapur through Stick for India (a hockey project of Rural Development Trust (Fundación Vicente Ferrer) started in 2006 by Santi Freixa and Andreu Enrich)
Andreu came to India for the first time in 2005 with the national team of Spain to participate in the Champions Trophy at Chennai. He and Santi extended their stay to visit RDT at Anantapur. After the visit, they proposed a hockey school.
To find the response for hockey among the kids, they started off with summer camps, which were received well among the children where nobody talked about hockey. And, then hockey was introduced at 10 adopted centres, where boys/girls teams were formed and leagues were played.
Now, the boys and girls are selected through selection trials for the hostel which was started in due course. The selected players are provided with free education and hostel facility at RDT Sports School in Anantapur. Currently Stick for India has 49 adopted centres throughout Rayalseema region on Andhra Pradesh where more than 1,300 boys and girls play hockey every day.
The most important challenge for Stick for India is regarding the dispute of Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for managing hockey in India. In an exclusive interview with thefansofhockey.com, Andreu said, “Initially I thought that this federation problem (IHF-HI Body Battle) is hitting the top-level, but that is not true, it is hitting everywhere. And also here in Anantapur, we are facing some important problem in this kind of political fights.”
“So our challenge is, as a private centre, to be neutral, as much neutral as we can; and provide our boys and girls to both the bodies because we don’t want to take part in any specific way.” he further added.
Increasing number of adopted centres and giving international exposure to the children and coaches is another challenge for Andreu and his team.
Installation of turf at their facility is on cards and will be done in the near future; even half of the required fund is arranged. Andreu is confident that the game of his wards will improve drastically once they get to practice regularly on turf, though many of them have already represented Andhra Pradesh in National Championships and have been selected for teams such as SAI, Army, etc.
Talking about future plans, he told that the academy is not only looking forward to install turf but also it will be great if they could arrange exposure trip for their coaches and players, which would help them in gaining lifetime experience.
28 year old Andreu, who hails from Terrassa in Spain, will be really happy and satisfied, if they could produce an international hockey player from Anantapur, but he has to look after the above mentioned plans.
We, www.thefansofhockey.com, wish Stick for India team a very good luck and will support their endeavor in whatever way we can.