Home » Our Junior Hockey Players Need Better Exposure and Quality Competitions: HI President Dilip Tirkey

Our Junior Hockey Players Need Better Exposure and Quality Competitions: HI President Dilip Tirkey

by admin
0 comment

Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey (IANS)

Former India captain and the current HI president Dilip Tirkey talks about the importance of a thriving domestic structure.

There’s a noticeable change in hockey legend Dilip Tirkey’s voice as he gets down to explaining the brass tacks of his ambitious pet project: Grassroots Development Program. The pitch gets a little louder and the passion in his voice becomes quite apparent.

After becoming the first-ever player to be elected as the president of Hockey India last year, Tirkey, among other tasks, has devoted himself to unearthing new talent from across the length and breadth of the country through which he dreams to create a wide, diverse pool which will serve as a never-ending supply line to the senior men’s and women’s teams.

Having played and blossomed in an era when Indian hockey teams had to also fight with financial and infrastructural hurdles, it was sheer determination and love for the game that helped Tirkey to log over 400 appearances at the international level.

And a man with such wealth of experience knows which area needs more tending to. Hence his push for developing a thriving hockey culture at the domestic level to lay a solid foundation which will eventually translate into success at the international level.

“To develop any sports, the work should begin from grassroots level and for hockey that’s very important,” Tirkey told News18 Sports during the Asian Champions Trophy in the national capital on Thursday.

ALSO READ | Asian Champions Trophy 2023: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Unveils Trophy as ‘Pass The Ball’ Tour Gets Underway

As part of his plans, HI conducted its first-ever junior men and women zonal championships earlier this year from March 19 to 26. A total of 23 men and 24 women teams spread across the North, South, East and West zones competed in 137 matches.

“Our sub-junior, junior players need better exposure, quality competitions, and we have to give a proper shape to their training programme. We have to create a core group. We will have an U-17 sub-junior team, (we want to) give them responsibility, motivate them. So that’s why it’s (grassroots development) important,” said Tirkey who was bestowed with the Padma Shri award in 2004.

Another reason behind creating a solid domestic structure is to help get hockey players a sense of achievement and more importantly, jobs.

“Not every player will be able to play for India. We want to create strong zones so that a player can say that he/she represented a certain zone. From these zones we will create a core group at U-17, U-19 level. So they will all be part of a process. We will have created a strong pool in the junior level itself,” said Tirkey.

The results though won’t be visible overnight and Tirkey is prepared for the long haul.

“Right now we have inter-zonal championships – in it academies are also participating. We have divided the academies in two pools. They will compete against each other and from there we will choose the top players for our core group. This will take time; it may take two years to complete a framework,” he said.

You may also like

All Right Reserved. @sportztalks

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?