Have an under-16 tournament in HIL: Bovelander


RANCHI: Floris Jan Bovelander became a key name in the development of hockey in India when his country the Netherlands signed a partnership of association couple of years ago. The Dutch great, who owns both the Olympic men’s hockey gold and the World Cup title, is offering dreams of a great revival through an ambitious tie up with Tata Trusts’ project — Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives.

Bovelander says hockey in India can regain its lost glory only if it has a proper youth development programme in place.

“It would be a good idea to have an u-16 tournament attached to the Hockey India League (HIL) as that would surely boost the youth development,” Bovelander suggests.

The Dutch Olympic champion asserted that there is not much difference in the “willingness and attitude” between the kids in his country and children in two districts of Khunti and West Singhbhum where his academy is working in close association with Tata Trusts.

“In the end the main point was being enthusiastic about hockey. The children here are nice and friendly. Of course at home the equipment is better and they play on artificial pitches with shin guards. But in terms of willingness to learn and attitude, there are a lot of similarities than differences,” Bovelander told The Hindu in a chat over Skype in the Trusts’ office at Khunti.

The two districts adopted by the Trusts for development will offer the initial batch of students for the upcoming Tata Hockey Academy in Jamshedpur, which is scheduled to be launched in May this year.

“The Academy will give these players a place where they can explore their talent in the sport so that one day become the best player of the state if not for the National team,” Bovelander says adding that he expects the results to come in four years after the academy starts functioning.

Putting a lot of faith on HIL, Bovelander said India’s result in the Rio Olympics is also an indication of the upswing.

“In the last few years Hockey India did a good job by introducing the HIL and getting some good foreign coaches to develop the Western style of play. The World Cup in 2018 (to be held at Bhubaneshwar) will also add to the development of the sport here,” Bovelander said.

“I think there are hardly four or five countries which had both the men’s and women’s teams in the Olympics. And with both Indian men and women playing in the last Olympics (2016), it was a good development,” is how Bovelander holds out hope.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:32:55 PM |

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