With a legacy of star players, Jharkhand wants to become India’s next hockey powerhouse

Moving away from its image of a Maoist litter, the state of Jharkhand is slowly leaving a mark in the field of sports and striving to become a hockey nest. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Indian women’s hockey team made history by qualifying for the semifinals of the Olympics for the first time, beating triple champion Australia by one goal, and Jharkhand played a key role in that achievement.

The day after the Indian men’s national team entered Semifinals of the Olympic Games after 49 years of differenceworld number 9 for women also wrote history with bold performance.

While the medal for third place remained unattainable, the team earned tremendous respect with significant recognition for fourth place at the Games.

Other great players on the field included Salima Tete and Nikki Pradhan. This was the first time that the state of Jharkhand had two players on the international team.


Reuters

Jharkhand has a rich history production of star hockey players, men and women. But the state is now more than ever recognized for its contribution to field hockey. In the past, Jharkhand has given players like Asunta Lakra and Bimal Lakra, and with our performance at the Tokyo Olympics, the whole country is talking about women’s hockey, which has been largely neglected in the past, ”said Nikki Pradhan. Olympic Games Indiatimes.

Twenty-seven-year-old Nikki, who hails from the village of Hesal in Khunti district, says there were no facilities when she started playing hockey..

Nineteen-year-old Salima Tete, who hails from a small hamlet in the Simdega district of Jharkhand, remembers her first steps towards hockey..

Recalling her early days, Salima says she and her friends played on dusty ground streaked with stones. They would remove the stones, try to make the terrain as smooth as possible and mark the temporary gates.

“We used wooden sticks because we didn’t have hockey knives,” she says.

Jharkhand: Hockey Power Plant

Jharkhand’s path to recognition in sports began decades ago.

First ever Indian national hockey team at the Olympicsat the Amsterdam Games in 1928 he was Captain Jaipal Singh Munda, born in present-day Jharkhand.

Since then, Jharkhand, which gained state status in 2000, has produced a number of international players, including Sylvanus Dung Dung, Michael Kind, Sumrai Tete and brothers and sisters Bimal and Asunta Lakra. Currently, two players from the state – Tete and Nikki Pradhan – are in the Indian women’s core likely group of 24 people for the Tokyo Olympics.

PR Sreejesh Hockey Tokyo Olympics
Tokyo Olympic Games Reuters

Both Salima and Nikki believe that Jharkhand has great potential to shine like Odisha, a country that itself supported hockey and brought it global recognition.

“Even a hockey game at the regional or regional level in the state attracts huge crowds. Small stadiums have usually exceeded their capacity. If a small game can attract such a large audience, imagine what real stadiums and national events could bring to the state,” she says excitedly and full. hope Nikki.

For several years, hockey witnessed a lull in Jharkhand, but intensified again after the Rio Olympics, where the Indian women’s hockey team performed after 36 years.

Two years later, Jharkhand enjoyed another breakthrough. The national team won the junior women’s state championship, defeating four-time champion Haryana 4-2 in the final.

Tete played an integral role in that tournament and led India to a silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A fresh boost to sport in the state

After Pradhan and Tete’s phenomenal performance, the Jharkhanda government announced a series of initiatives to promote hockey and other sports such as archery among young people.

Salima Tete
AP

To promote the players, the government has embarked on a multi-pronged strategy that includes job security and training, Jharkhanda Chief Minister Hemant Soren said, adding that the government has provided jobs for 40 domestic and international players.

The government will also establish a Residential Sports Center where it will train for free for hockey, football, athletics, archery, badminton and volleyball.

Plans to make a much-needed shift in the sport, a day boarding school will be established where deserving players will be provided with financial assistance.

In the event that players and coaches of the state have an accident, the Government will bear the full cost of the treatment.

In Jharkhand, almost all hockey players come from humble backgrounds. Hockey gives them a purpose. Young players like Nikki and Salima believe that with a little more support Jharkhand could become a hockey base in the coming time.

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