CHENNAI:If everything goes according to plan, India will have its first National Hockey Academy along the lines of Australia and South Africa. The Sports Authority of India has decided to embark on one of the most ambitious projects, with the launch of an academy sometime next year. It will be launched at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi. Not just this, SAI has also entered a partnership with a private company for the first time, when it agreed to venture into state-of-the-art swimming programme in the country.
“Hockey academy is an ambitious project, and we want to make it the best in the world,” said SAI director general Injeti Srinivas. “We thought the sport — one of the most popular in India — needed a thrust and are heading towards the right direction. We’ll be targeting the 16-18 age group. We’ll engage a high performance technical director and coaches. Support staff, both technical and scientific, will also be engaged. We’ll be working in close coordination with Hockey India.”
According to Srinivas, the project is ready to roll. “SAI has got most initial clearances and have the infrastructure and wherewithal to start the academy. The hostels and grounds too will not be a problem,” he said.
Narinder Batra, HI president, welcomed the move and said such a project was needed. “Countries like England, Australia and South Africa have such centres. We needed something similar. Such a project takes time and I’ll be happy if it starts running within a year.”
He said SAI’s first Corporate Social Responsibility partnership with Glenmark Aquatic Foundation, too, is a pathbreaking initiative.
“We are trying to set up academies for high priority sports and this initiative will attract more PSUs and corporate houses to invest in other disciplines,” said Srinivas. “We’ll be helped by high performance team, including coaches and support staff.”
On the cards
Awards for excellence among SAI coaches and trainees for outstanding performance. Every year 20 SAI coaches and 35 SAI trainees will be conferred awards for outstanding performance at national/international level. Selection will be based on points. They will be given cash prize and citation.
In-principle agreement with Coal India for setting up SAI National TT Academy in Kolkata.