Young World

Hello to hockey

Here's to hockey: On the practice field. Photo: V.V. Subrahmanyam

Here's to hockey: On the practice field. Photo: V.V. Subrahmanyam  

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The passion for hockey has revived in schools after India made it to the 2012 London Olympics.

It is exam time. But the fact that a group of boys and girls of Ivy League Academy ventured on the hockey ground, a day after India made it to the 2012 London Olympics, to complete their daily regimen under the tutelage of Narenderpal Singh, former victorious coach of Hyderabad Sultans, was perhaps an indication of the interest these players have in the sport. “Yes, it was great news. Unfortunately we could not see the action live because we were not permitted to watch TV in our hostel,” remarks, Soundarya. She is proud that she shares the name with the striker N. Soundarya from Nizamabad (Andhra Pradesh), in the Indian women's hockey squad who put up a remarkable show as well.

In fact Ivy League Academy has been fielding hockey teams – both girls and boys – in all India CBSE and the Zonal championships. And, Soundarya, Sarah Alexander and Aarthi have played in the South Zone edition and know what is the feel of big-time hockey.

Not surprisingly, the young players say that Sandeep Singh, the leading scorer in the Olympic qualifiers with his short-corner conversion, is their favourite. “We wish he continues the same in the Olympics," says Aarthi. For Bharani Komendoor, it is sheer passion for the sport which takes her to the ground. Interestingly, she never watches hockey on tv but prefers to dabble on the field in her own way. “I love to play but not really watch. I wish to be a good player at the national level,” she says.

What is the biggest positive from India qualifying for London Games? “Well, it is great to see some of these hockey players already endorsing some products,” says Ivy League boys team goalkeeper M. Akhilesh. He braves a bruised knee (which required a major surgery) to play his favourite sport day in and out.

Spirits lifted

Dr. Deep Khare, Principal of Ivy League Academy, feels that India's performance has lifted the spirit of these young players. “Earlier, they used to face the question, why are you playing a sport in which the Indians failed to qualify for Olympics? But now they can move around with a sense of pride after India's performance,” he says.

So, far from the madding crowds of the twin cities, these young players harness their skills in the sleepy village of Tummukunta. All with the hope of continuing their hockey careers too.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 9:26:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/kids/hello-to-hockey/article2987540.ece

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