As the most of us were busy in celebrating the last weekend of 2013, preparing to welcome 2014, analyzing what happened in the last one year, etc. a bunch of hockey players were preparing to host 16 teams (12 Boys and 4 Girls) for Five-a-Side Hockey Tournament at the grounds of Southern Railway Institute in Palakkad, Kerala.
The Fans of Hockey witnessed Palakkad Hockey Academy players spending their holiday season in preparing the ground, erecting temporary floodlights, putting rink (side boards) and goal-posts in place for the tournament, even a live digital score-board was also put up at the stadium.
In a step towards of revitalizing the hockey in Kerala and revival of the academy, it is the first tournament at the Palakkad Hockey Academy after 2006. The tournament was very well supported by the friends, families and other sports lovers, the board of Directors.
The academy was started in the year of 2000 under the leadership the Divisional Railway Manager S K Sharma (Chairman) and Sanal Kumar (Secretary) of Southern Railway Institute, Palakkad. Academy initially started with at JNV School, Govt Vocational Higher Secondary and Railway Higher Secondary School in Palakkad, currently there are a total of 6 schools team train under the guidance of the academy and senior players.
The academy has produced more than 40 players who represented Kerala, Calicut University and Mahatma Gandhi University at various tournaments including National Hockey Championships and National Inter-University Hockey Tournaments. And one of them, Thejus P R went on representing India in 2004 in a test series against France. Around 20 players have joined various clubs at Dubai and Sharjah.
Though Hockey standard is quite good in Kerala at grass root level, but not upto the mark of national level because of the lack of infrastructure. Note: Kerala does not have a single astro-turf yet!.
This dampens the efforts put by the academy like Palakkad Hockey Academy and their promising players. who even sometimes never get a chance to play on the artificial surface in their life-time.
This is the hockey status in Kerala, the home state of Mariamma Koshy, the President of Hockey India!!!
Here is a video for you all to witness the excitement and support by the crowd of Palakkad along with the skills of the players.