Hockey: J’khand shines on day one of nat’nal meet, Hemant promises international stadium

Simdega: The 11th edition of the junior national women hockey championship got underway in Jharkhand’s Simdega district on Wednesday with chief minister Hemant Soren laying foundation stone for a multi-crore international hockey stadium and sports complex along with a 50-bed hostel facility estimated to cost about Rs 27 crore. The chief minister also inaugurated and distributed assets and welfare schemes in tune of around Rs 60 crore and handed job-letters to 79 people at a formal inauguration ceremony of the prestigious sporting event at S.S.Balika high school.

Simdega, which is considered as the state’s hockey cradle, is hosting the national tournament for the second time this year after successfully conducting the 11th sub-junior women’s national championship in March amid the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.

The district administration and Hockey Jharkhand have put up elaborate measures to prevent covid-19 infection this time too during the tournament which will be held till October 29. As many as 26 teams from different states are taking part in the event, which will also be a platform for selecting players for India camp.

Host Jharkhand clinched their maiden victory beating Tamil Nadu by 8-1 with Pramodni Lakra shining with her three goal stint to corner the opponents. Of other three matches, Karnataka beat Bengal by 16-0, Assam thrashed Rajasthan by 6-0 and Punjab won over Puducherry by 18-0. 

Chief minister welcomed back to back national sporting events in the state, specially in a place like Simdega, which despite having rich potential, lags in terms of enough infrastructure. “Tournaments like these provide an opportunity for local and budding players to get exposure. Such events also put spotlight on the places like Simdega, which we are working to convert it as a booming place for hockey players.”

He reiterated his commitments for players stating that the government is working to induct players into jobs as per the new sports policy and cited that few months back about 39 players were provided appointment letters. 

Teams of different teams during the inaugural parade in Simdega. TNF picture

The proposed hockey stadium is expected to incur Rs 14 crore, which once ready will give Simdega an edge over other districts. 

Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam, officials of the sports department, Simdega district administration, Hockey Jharkhand were during the formal inaugural ceremony of the games. Hockey Jharkhand president Bholanath Singh thanked state government and district administration to extend their unwavering support for helping them organize national events in the district.