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Hockey India's new initiatives will foster women's growth in the game, says former goalkeeper Bharat Chetri

Published at :April 19, 2024 at 1:10 PM
Modified at :April 19, 2024 at 1:10 PM
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(Courtesy : Hockey India)

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Bharat Chetri also addressed the National Women’s Hockey League’s role in grassroots development

Bharat Chetri, the illustrious former goalkeeper of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team, has lent his support and commendation to Hockey India’s latest initiatives aimed at fostering grassroots talent and uplifting women’s hockey in the nation. Bharat Chetri spoke fervently about the impact these initiatives could have on the sport in India.

Hockey India’s recent endeavours include a pioneering program targeted at nurturing young drag-flickers and goalkeepers across India. This strategic investment underscores the national sports federation’s commitment to identifying and refining promising talent from the grassroots level. Former goalkeepers and drag-flickers, including Bharat Chetri himself, have been enlisted to lead intensive 3-day training sessions at premier national academies nationwide. These sessions aim to identify and hone the skills of young athletes aspiring to excel in these pivotal positions.

Bharat Chetri expressed his enthusiasm for the program, stating, “Investing in grassroots development is paramount for the future of Indian hockey. By focusing on specialized training for goalkeepers and drag-flickers, Hockey India is laying a solid foundation for the emergence of world-class talent in these critical roles. I am honoured to be a part of this initiative and am confident that it will yield remarkable results for the sport.”

The assembled pool of trainers comprises esteemed former India goalkeepers Adrian D’Souza, Yogita Bali, Helen Mary, Dipika Murty, Akash Chikte, PT Rao, along with eminent former India drag-flickers Rupinder Pal Singh, Gurjinder Singh, VR Raghunath, and Jaspreet Kaur. Following their intensive training, these seasoned trainers have been strategically deployed to premier national academies across India, ensuring the dissemination of expertise and knowledge to aspiring young athletes nationwide.

In addition to the grassroots development program, Hockey India recently unveiled the ground-breaking National Women’s Hockey League 2024 – 2025, marking a significant milestone for women’s hockey in the country.

The National Women’s Hockey League represents the first domestic women’s league of its kind in India, providing a platform for emerging athletes and elevating the stature of women’s hockey in the nation. Teams participating in the maiden edition of the league include Hockey Haryana, Hockey Maharashtra, Hockey Jharkhand, Hockey Madhya Pradesh, Hockey Bengal, Hockey Mizoram, Manipur Hockey, and Hockey Association of Odisha.

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Bharat Chetri hailed the league as a significant boost for women’s hockey, stating, “The National Women’s Hockey League signifies a pivotal moment for the sport in India. By providing such a big competitive platform at the domestic level for women athletes, Hockey India is empowering the next generation of hockey stars and fostering a culture of excellence. I am thrilled to witness this historic moment and am confident that the league will inspire countless young girls to pursue their dreams in hockey.”

Notably, the National Women’s Hockey League is structured into two phases and the inaugural phase of the tournament is scheduled to take place in Ranchi, Jharkhand, from 30th April to 9th May 2024, at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium.

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