After some great hockey during this season and quite a few trophies donning the shelves, Rural Development Trust (RDT) welcomed one of their first ever guests from the Hockey loving nation of Netherlands, a renowned sports business development strategist, Rob van Nes on 12th January, 2016.
Rob, with Dutch Hockey Star Floris Jan Bovelander, has co-founded a great sporting initiative that is directed towards the development of hockey at the grassroots level in India. This visionary initiative is the “One Million Hockey Legs (1MHL)” program. It is also a great platform for India & the Netherlands to build great relations and develop a better sporting infrastructure at the grassroots and business relations in India with the help of the Netherlands.
The goal of the One Million Hockey Legs program is to tremendously boost hockey towards the build-up of the Hockey World Cup that is set to be hosted in Bhubaneswar, Odisha in 2018. As per the current count, Hockey India has a strength of about 50,000 strong hockey playing population in the country. But with the help of the 1MHL program, come 2018 this number should go up 10 fold.
With this in mind 1MHL is looking to partner with RDT who at their ASV and in the neighbouring regions of Anantapur through the Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) program have established a strong grassroots structure for sports, particularly hockey. The idea behind this has been to build a sporting culture among the rural youth and support the ambitious talent to succeed at high levels.
In a bid to step closer to achieve this ambitious goal, the 1MHL program and Rob journeyed down to Anantapur, a region of southern Andhra Pradesh, known by most, as a rural area believed to be backward in most senses. At Anantapur, Rob visited the Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) only to be amazed of the infrastructure and support that Hockey gets along with many other sports. RDT is supporting sports such as Football, Tennis and Cricket, Judo, Special Olympics and so on.
Taking this further Rob praised the ASV facility during his visit and said he was pleasantly surprised with the infrastructure in place for the development of hockey. He also said “back at home in the Netherlands the culture is more about playing and enjoying to play the sport one likes, and when that happens it is more than easy to succeed in that particular sport and knowing that RDT is promoting and encouraging this kind of a thought process is remarkable. We would love to join hands with RDT and maybe even provide further support to strengthen the hockey program in the future.” He later went onto meet and greet each of the ASV Hockey staff along with athletes in person.
Rob expressed a heightened desire to bring forth this partnership in the next few months between 1MHL and RDT’s ASA after meeting with the RDT’s Program Director, Moncho Ferrer, signing off by saying “Come and join us to grow Hockey”.
Author: Maxon Sequeira