It is not the first time that the Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) has hosted a national camp for athletes representing Andhra Pradesh. As a result, Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) program continues to grow from strength to strength as an institution in itself. Simultaneously it continues to fortify a changing belief that rural India can become a hub for sporting development. With a relatively poor and desert like district of Anantapur emerging as a front runner of this changing belief and the hard work of RDT to make it a recognizable and formidable sporting destination of India standing out as an easily noticeable fact behind this.
This time around, amidst exams and the closure of the academic year, the ASV hosted a national level Hockey camp. This camp housed 36 young women, the finest athletes that Andhra Pradesh has to offer to the game. These young women put in their heart and soul into this preparatory camp that would lead upto the upcoming nationals.
Hockey Andhra Pradesh (HAP) showed faith in RDT and its coaching staff, and in doing so put these young women in the care of RDT Women’s Hockey Coach, S. Anil Kumar during the initial few days. He was then joined by Mrs. Karuna Lakshmi and Mr. Khadar Basha, Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) Hockey Coaches from Tirupati and Kadapa, respectively.
With a lot of determination and perseverance, these young women trained long and hard thrice a day throughout the week between 5th and 20th April 2016. Even the buzz at the All India Tennis Association Super Series Anantapur 2016 happening next door could not shake them. Their focus was solely on the 6th Hockey India Nationals.
Of the entire contingent, as many as 12 out of the 36 athletes were from the ASA program with the ASV being their home. Of these 12 girls, two were chosen to play for the senior side while 10 would represent the Hockey Andhra Pradesh junior side.
The senior side set sail on the morning of the 16th with their campaign starting in Bangalore on the 18th and running until the 27th. The honour and responsibility of captaincy of the junior side was rested on the sturdy shoulders of ASA’s B. Maheshwari. With the bulk of the home trained athletes from the ASA, the younger lasses made their move to Ranchi on the evening of the 20th to start their campaign on the 24th going on till the 2nd of May.
Working with the girls to train them on penalty corners, strokes, shootouts and integrating these skills with some of the “Stick for India” coaching methodology, taught at the ASA, RDT Women’s Hockey coach S. Anil Kumar said, “The girls are highly skilled and have very good basics which is why we have been able to focus on more advanced set plays and other tactical aspects of the game. We are hoping these girls continue their structure and form into the tournament, top their groups and qualify for the A division for the next nationals.”