Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday inaugurated the Naval Tata Hockey Academy (NTHA), a high-performance centre that will groom the best hockey talents in the state into future national and international players.
The academy has been opened at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar to nurture sports talent in the state.
“I am glad that a high-performance centre for hockey has been inaugurated today. I hope young Olympians will be the products of the centre,” the Chief Minister said.
The government sports hostels in Bhubaneshwar, Sundargarh and Rourkela will become Regional Development Centres (RDCs). The experts engaged by Tata Trusts and Tata Steel will work with the RDCs to further enhance their efficiency and excellence.
Ten to 12 grassroots centres will be established initially in Sambalpur and Sundargarh districts. Talents scouted from the grassroots centres will be recommended for admission into the sports hostels, said an official.
The grassroots centres and the RDCs will ensure a continuous flow of talent into the NTHA. The government will help develop the infrastructure in these regions to improve the quality of hockey players being fed into the RDCs and NTHA, the official said.
Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera said Bhubaneswar was fast emerging as the sports capital of India.
“With the establishment of NTHA, youth from the state will get best-in-class training on artificial turf from an early age which will enable the players to compete at par with their international counterparts. This initiative will also help in making high-performance hockey coaches,” said Behera.
T.V. Narendran, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Tata Steel, said, “It is always our effort to nurture sporting talent by providing access to state-of-the-art sports facilities and rigorous training. Tata Steel has a significant connect with the youth at the grassroots level through various programmes. I am confident that the academy will enhance the efforts of the state to develop future champions.”
Tata Trusts senior advisor Burzis Taraporevala said that promoting sports has the dual benefit of raising the standard of Indian sports as well as promoting livelihood opportunities among those living in the underdeveloped regions of the country.
The academy is named in the honour of Naval H. Tata to commemorate his contribution to hockey in India and his achievements as a sports administrator.