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Hockey India welcomes two new academy members to boost grassroots development

Hockey India, the governing body of the sport in the country, has announced the induction of two new academy members to its fold. The Southern Alpha Sports Academy from Bangalore and the Ritu Rani Hockey Academy from Patiala have been formally approved by the Hockey India Executive Body at the 13th Congress held on November 3 at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Hockey Stadium meeting hall.

Southern Alpha Sports Academy: A promising hub for sports excellence

The Southern Alpha Sports Academy, based in Bangalore, Karnataka, was founded by Mr Parthasarathi Jha. The academy promises excellence in a variety of sports programs, including hockey, football, basketball, cricket, and athletics. The academy has a state-of-the-art infrastructure, with a synthetic turf, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and a hostel facility. The academy aims to provide quality coaching and guidance to young and talented athletes from across the country.

The academy has a dedicated hockey wing, which is headed by Mr Rajesh Kumar, a former national player and coach. The academy has a pool of 60 players, who are trained under the supervision of experienced coaches and mentors. The academy also organizes regular tournaments and camps to expose the players to competitive scenarios and enhance their skills.

Hockey India welcomes two new academy members to boost grassroots development

The academy has produced some notable players, who have represented the state and the country at various levels. Some of the prominent names are:

  • Rajani Etimarpu, who is the current goalkeeper of the Indian women’s hockey team and has played over 100 international matches.
  • Suman Devi Thoudam, who is the captain of the Indian junior women’s hockey team and was part of the silver medal-winning squad at the 2023 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
  • Sanjay, who is a forward in the Indian junior men’s hockey team and was part of the bronze medal-winning squad at the 2023 Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia.

Ritu Rani Hockey Academy: A tribute to a legend

The Ritu Rani Hockey Academy, based in Patiala, Punjab, was founded by Mr Harsh Sharma and has Mr Baljinder Singh as the Director of the Academy. The academy is named after former Indian women’s hockey team captain Ritu Rani, who is widely regarded as one of the finest midfielders in the history of the game. Ritu Rani has played over 200 international matches for India and has led the team to many memorable victories, including the bronze medal at the 2023 Asian Games in Jakarta.

The academy aims to nurture and promote young and talented girls from the rural areas of Punjab, who have a passion for hockey. The academy provides free coaching, equipment, education, and boarding facilities to the selected players. The academy has a team of qualified and experienced coaches, who impart the technical and tactical aspects of the game to the players. The academy also focuses on the physical and mental development of the players, by providing them with fitness training, yoga, meditation, and counseling sessions.

The academy has a strength of 40 players, who are divided into two batches: under-14 and under-18. The academy participates in various district, state, and national level tournaments and has won several accolades. Some of the achievements of the academy are:

  • Gold medal at the 2023 Sub-Junior National Hockey Championship in Jammu.
  • Silver medal at the 2023 Junior National Hockey Championship in Bhopal.
  • Bronze medal at the 2023 Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati.

Hockey India’s vision for grassroots development

Hockey India, which currently has 27 Permanent Members, 33 Associate Members, 51 Academy Members, and 2 Hoc-Key Members, has been striving to develop the sport at the grassroots level and discover new talent across the country. The induction of the two new academy members is a testament to Hockey India’s vision and commitment to the growth and promotion of hockey in India.

Speaking on the newly inducted academy members, Hockey India President Padma Shri Dr Dilip Tirkey said, “It is a proud moment for us at Hockey India to have two new academy members -Southern Alpha Sports Academy and Ritu Rani Hockey Academy- on board. It truly strengthens our efforts in developing the sport and discovering new talent at the grassroots level. I would like to wish both the academies the very best and may they continue their exemplary work for the welfare of the sport.”

Echoing the President’s thoughts, Hockey India Secretary General Shri Bhola Nath Singh said, “With more academies coming into the fold, the sport is growing in varied ways at the grassroots level and we are delighted to have Southern Alpha Sports Academy and Ritu Rani Hockey Academy on board as new academy members.”

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