One Million Hockey Legs to strengthen its ties with Anantapur

OMHL trainers interacting with ASA hockey players in 2016

OMHL trainers interacting with ASA hockey players in 2016

Rob van Nes, International Business Development Head, One Million Hockey Legs (OMHL) visited Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) to meet Program Director Moncho Ferrer and other hockey officials to oversee and strengthen their partnership with the ASA Hockey Program.

The One Million Hockey Legs project started back in 2015 with the likes of Floris Jan Bovelander and other Olympians on its executive board.  It aims to reach one million young hockey players by 2018 Hockey World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar, India and increase the participation of rural youth by providing them with necessary training. With this aim, they collaborated with ASA which has a long history of promoting hockey in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh. OMHL wants to leave its impression in the Indian hockey legacy and strengthen the relationship between India and Netherlands.

“India can be world champion any day. We need to start from every home as parents need to understand the importance of sports; sports and education can go hand in hand. The skills like team spirit, hard work, communication can be learnt from sports which goes a long way in life”, says Rob van Nes.

Coach education is an important aspect of sport development, as to have a wider impact, the dissemination of knowledge of the game among the grassroots is essential. Many places in India lack infrastructural and up-to-date coach education at local and regional grassroots level which has decreased the number of children playing hockey. India with its 1.3 billion population has only 50,000 hockey players left whereas Netherlands, much smaller in population, has 2.5 lakh players.

“ASA has been promoting sports for many years and is providing good training cum residential facilities for talented athletes. I feel happy to be a part of this project and to help in the promotion of hockey in Anantapur. Wisse and Roderique, the trainers from OMHL who were in ASA in January 2017 for training were surprised to see the vigor and talent ASA hockey players possessed. Other OMHL partners in Jamshedpur, Delhi and Punjab are also doing quite well. Our aim is to spread the hockey culture in the grassroots and simultaneously provide high performance training to athletes who are doing well”, says Rob van Nes.

Rob van Nes meeting Program Director Moncho Ferer and other hockey officials.

Rob van Nes meeting Program Director Moncho Ferrer and other hockey officials.

Vijay Babu, Secretary of Hockey Anantapur said, “ASA plans to conduct a hockey  festival/championship in partnership with One Million Hockey Legs with the objective of increasing the participation in rural Anantapur as well as providing with high performance training to boys and girls of the academy”.

India were the first host nation to win the Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 and a little over a year from now,  Odisha would host the 14th edition of the Men’s Hockey World Cup. It would be interesting to see how Indian hockey team performs in the World Cup. OMHL’s effort towards developing the sport at the grassroots will go a long way in helping to achieve results at the international level in the future

ASA concludes All India Hockey Academies Championship 2017

RDT Hockey Academy after winning the championship.

RDT Hockey Academy after winning the championship.

The first ever Fr. Vincent Ferrer All India Invitation Hockey Academies Championship came to an end here in Anantapur Sports Village (ASV). The championship was organised by Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) in partnership with Hockey Anantapur. The championship was held over six days beginning on 29th May 2017 and for the first time a hockey championship in Anantapur was presided by Hockey India officials. 11 Hockey Academies from various regions of India participated in this All India Hockey Academies Championship for (U-21).

11 teams were divided into four pools and each team had to play once against each other in their pool during the group stages.  The usual suspects who performed well in the group stages were there in the semi-finals. TN Hockey Academy (Chennai), Dhyan Chand Hockey Academy (Guntur), One Thousand Hockey Legs (Delhi) and Rural Development Trust(RDT) Hockey Academy (Anantapur) were the teams in the semis. TN Hockey Academy knocked out Dhyan Chand Hockey Academy (Guntur) to seal their spot in the finals.And Dhyan Chand Hockey Academy (Guntur) were placed third in the championship after playing against One Thousand Hockey Legs (Delhi) who looked fiercely in the beginning.

The players in action.

The final match between TN Hockey Academy and RDT Hockey Academy was going toe-to-toe with equal chances given the fact that both had shown good maneuvering and tactical skills throughout the championship. Both teams were good at defense which kept the score board idle.

Eventually, in the 25th minute with Tamil Nadu giving away a penalty corner, Sandeep Kumar of the RDT Hockey Academy made use of the opportunity and scored a goal to break the deadlock. The second goal wasn’t far behind too, Charan Kumar scored a field goal in the 27th minute.

It was turning out to be an unexpected one sided match as the ball possession was mostly with RDT and they limited the TN Hockey Academy team to defense before the halftime. Few minutes into the second half saw one more goal from Sandeep Kumar helping RDT Hockey Academy to gain a comfortable lead of 3-0.

1 2With the blow of the final whistle, there was a loud cheer from the home crowd and supporters ran towards the winning team with RDT Hockey Academy winning the maiden Fr. Vincent Ferrer Hockey Academies Championship 2017. The player of the match for all matches were felicitated with hockey sticks.

BJ Kariappa, the Hockey India Manager High Performance (South India) who was in Anantapur Sports Academy said that the championship was a good opportunity for the players to showcase their skills and the coaches to see the growth in their players. He also felt that there was a great potential in the players and if they continue with the same spirit, they could surely excel at national and international level.