Stick for India returns to ASA after ASV Hockey Academy celebrate 10th anniversary

The Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) just concluded the 10th Anniversary celebration of its hockey academy earlier this year. And now it welcomed Andreu Enrich, the man who strengthened Hockey in Anantapur through the Stick for India project. Andreu is here to relive the 10th Anniversary celebrations and a decade long commitment to bring sports to rural India particularly Anantapur. He is doing that through the Stick for India and Hockey. Andreu spoke to us about this year’s camp and shared with us about how the 10 year celebrations have been very special. He also gave us some insights on the camp itself.

Andreu with some of the younger boys at camp

Andreu with some of the younger boys at camp

What made this year’s camp different?

The Stick for India camp structure hasn’t changed much. We trained the Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) Hockey Academy teams with a greater intensity this year. This is because we have observed that they continue to improve by leaps and bounds. However the coaching methodology and philosophy remains the same. We visited grassroot schools, played hockey games with the girls and the boys, spoke to their PE teachers and Headmasters, etc.

What did you have in mind when you brought more women coaches over this year?

The focus has always been to empower young girls through sport. We did not plan to have more women coaches this year. However, during the pre-camp period we floated a campaign to invite volunteer coaches. To our surprise, we received more applications from women coaches, and that favoured our aim at women empowerment.

The visiting Spanish coaches along with a few children from the camp

The visiting Spanish coaches along with a few children from the camp

What was your aim of the camp this year?

We received support from Sportways. Its a Dutch company that extended support to the project by providing us their coaching methodologies, modules and kit. Their philosophy to hockey is based strongly on the concept of “Fun and Learning.” We believe in the same principles. We therefore aimed to ensure that more children play the sport and enjoy doing so during this year’s Stick for India camp.

The ASA celebrated the Hockey project’s 10th anniversary, how do feel when you look back to see your involvement with the project for so many years?

I am very happy to have been part of the project. The overall progress of the program has been very satisfying as the numbers at the grassroots grow at a fair pace. This motivates me to keep moving forward. For me initially, it was only about growing the reach of my sport and working with Rural Development Trust (RDT). Now it is completely different as the project is affecting so many lives in such a positive manner.  I am just overjoyed about that fact. I do regret not being able to be there during the celebrations though but knowledge of the fact that the program celebrated its 10th year along with the opportunity I get to be here every year with all these beautiful and enthusiastic children makes me feel really wonderful.

ASA Hockey Academy celebrates 10 years of developing lives through Hockey

Anantapur finally managed to see some showers ahead of the 8th Father Vincent Ferrer Memorial Hockey Championship 2016. Resultantly experiencing pleasant weather to welcome the championship that would celebrate 10 years of Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) Hockey Academy. Celebrations that marked 10 years of the ASA Hockey Academy’s promoting India’s national sport among the rural youth to educate and develop them and affect a sporting cultural change in the region.

Teams arrived at the Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) on the 3rd June 2016 and got down to acclimatizing to the relatively warmer weather of Anantapur despite the rains. The tournament took shape with 14 teams, around 230 of the finest athletes in South India contesting for the honour of having the Father Vincent Ferrer Memorial Hockey Championship trophy don their cabinets.

RDT Executive Director, Anne Ferrer welcoming teams with inspiring words

RDT Executive Director, Anne Ferrer welcoming teams with inspiring words

The championship began with RDT Executive Director, Anne Ferrer encouraging the young athletes with warm words and later declaring the championship open on the evening of the 4th June 2016. This marked the beginning of the league stages of the championship.

Eight boys’ and six girls’ teams made up the roster. The boys’ competition set between Jude Felix Hockey Academy (JFHA), Bangalore, RV Academy, Chennai, Medical College, Chennai, Sports Club, Kovilpatti, G.V.G. Udumalpet, RDT Anantapur, RDT Dharmavaram and hosts RDT’s ASA Hockey Academy. The girls’ competition on the other hand was contested between RGV Kovilpatti, GVGW Udumalpet, Department of Youth Services and Sports (DYSS) Mysore & Bangalore, JFHA Bangalore and hosts ASA Hockey Academy.

The championship followed a league cum knockout structure with both the boys and girls split into two pools. Each team would play their pool contenders once with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semi-finals where they would face-off in a knockout setting to make their way to the trophy.

Images from the action packed League stages

Images from the action packed League stages

The league stages came off quite hard fought, with quite a few of the games going down to the wire, being decided in the dying minutes. The boys’ competition came through after some intense games with the semi-finals eventually seeing R.V. Academy and RDT Dharmavaram from Pool A and ASA Hockey Academy and JFHA Bangalore from Pool B, whereas the girls’ competition saw DYSS Mysore and RGV Kovilpatti from Pool A and ASA Hockey Academy and GVGW Udumalpet from Pool B.

A tooth and nail effort saw RDT Dharmavaram and JFHA end the first semi-final with 3 goals each. Nerves were tested as the teams took to a nail biting shoot-out. Where both teams drew again at 3 a piece in their stipulated 5 shootouts going into sudden death for a result. JFHA goalkeeper fouled Dharmavaram player in his sudden death shootout attempt leading to a penalty stroke, later silencing the supporting Anantapur crowd to take the JFHA boys to the final with a 2-1 sudden death score to play the hosts ASA Hockey Academy who convincingly defeated RV Academy 3-0 in their semi-final. The ASA Hockey Academy girls controlled every moment of their 8-1 semi-final win over RGV Kovilpatti while DYSS Mysore managed a 3-0 win over GVGW Udumalpet to arrive into the finals.

The finals were decided with overwhelming wins. The Boys final saw hosts ASA Hockey Academy dominate proceedings right from the start to beat JFHA 5-0. While the girls competition closed as ASA Hockey Academy went into half time being one goal down, eventually conceding two more for a 3-0 scoreline losing to DYSS Mysore.

 Shots from the Finals

Shots from the Finals

Hockey Anantapur Secretary M H Vijayababu shared, “We have grown greatly throughout this eventful decade with just one hockey summer camp organized with Spanish players Andreu Enrich and Santi Freixa back in 2006 to now having close to 1700 children play hockey throughout the district. As for our teams in the championship, it was only a matter of experience that made the difference. Our boys have been in the academy for a couple of years now and their teams had some favourable playing time before this championship at national level tournaments in Nagpur and Kovilpatti. Most of the girls however have been with the academy only this year and are relatively inexperienced, but have played exceptionally to reach the finals and their performance despite the lack of experience was fulfilling. We only look forward to having a more competitive infrastructure for the future, continue to grow and develop these children and more throughout the hockey program with more of them being able to secure jobs through their influence on the field much like many of their predecessors who now serve in the Police, the Army and as PE Teachers”

RDT supports Hockey Andhra Pradesh by hosting the Women’s National camp at the ASV

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.

Hockey Andhra Pradesh senior women’s team before they left for Bangalore

Hockey Andhra Pradesh senior women’s team before they left for Bangalore

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. Continue reading →

Most Awaited JFHA Inter-School Hockey Tourney from Nov 7 under Floodlights

After 2 editions of trend-setting and world-class hockey tournament for school kids, the 3rd edition of the JFHA Inter-School Hockey Tournament is all set to start from 7th November. The tournament will be inaugurated by Most Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore, at 4:30 PM at KSHA Hockey Stadium, Langford Town, Bangalore.

South United-JFHA Inter School Hockey Tournament 2012 Champions RDT Inclusive High School, Anantapur (AP) with chief Guest Allan Schofield (Moscow Olympics Gold Medalist)

The Defending Champions RDT Inclusive High School, Anantapur (AP) with chief Guest Allan Schofield (Moscow Olympics Gold Medalist) after receiving trophy (Photo by Deepthi Indukuri)

The 3rd edition of this inter-school hockey tournament, organised by Jude Felix Hockey Academy (JFHA), is called Dreamworld India – JFHA Inter-School Hockey Tournament 2013 as “Dreamworld India” has come on board with JFHA as the title sponsor of the tournament for this year. Maths Creation Centre is the co-sponsor of the tournament and MJ Maths is associate sponsor. As it was in last two edition, this edition will also be played in international standard environment including floodlights. Continue reading →

SAI ‘A’ Won Karnataka State Women’s Hockey League Championship 2013

SAI ‘A’ held DYES ‘A’ for 1-1 draw to win Karnataka State Women’s Hockey League Championship 2013, which concluded on Friday at the KSHA Hockey Stadium in Bangalore. The winners SAI ‘A’ got richer by INR 30,000/- while the runners DYES ‘A’ were awarded with INR 20,000/-.

RDT Hockey Academy (Stick for India) Anantapur Goalkeeping Training Session

Navneeta (Best Goalie) trains here at RDT Hockey Academy

Individual Awards:
Best Goal Keeper – Kumari Navneeta (RDT)
Best Defender – Bhagyashree (SAI ‘A’)
Best Half – Kavyashree (DYES Mysore)
Best Forward – Chaithra (Vasu Sports Club)
Player of the Tournament – Sushma ( SAI ‘A’)

Both the teams, DYES ‘A’ and SAI ‘A’, were pool toppers in the 1st phase of the tournament, while in 2nd phase both finished on 7 points from 2 wins and a draw each, same goal difference of +9 each and are separated only by goal scored (10 and 13 respectively). However DYES ‘A’ was only unbeaten in the league as the champions SAI ‘A’ had lost 0-1 to Vasu SC, Hubli in a match in the first phase of the championship.

Continue reading →

Andreu dreams of producing an International Hockey Player from Anantapur, but…

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 Enrich dividing the groups for the drills of session at Stick for India Hockey Academy at RDT Anantapur

Andreu Enrich dividing the groups for the drills of session at Stick for India Hockey Academy at RDT Anantapur

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. Continue reading →