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One of the learnings from the Tata Trusts’ years of engagement in Jharkhand was that hockey is a sport that comes naturally to youngsters from tribal communities, even when they lack basic equipment including proper footwear.

To provide opportunities for tribal children to develop into professional hockey players, the Trusts launched a grassroots programme with Collectives for Integrated Livelihoods in India (CiNi) as its implementation partner. The objective was to professionalise grassroot level hockey in India, and provide a launch pad to local talent by bringing global practices to the training of India’s domestic hockey coaches.

The Naval Tata Hockey Academy (NTHA) in Jamshedpur, was conceptualised in partnership with Tata Steel, to create a centre for providing opportunities to grassroots talent to become professional hockey players. In April 2016, Tata Trusts partnered with Olympian player Floris Jan Bovelander to provide international level hockey training, along with life skills coaching, at the grassroots level as well as at the Academy. The Regional Development Centres were started to provide competitive training to select talent from the grassroots and provide a smoother transition to the Academy.

After the success of the programme in Jharkhand, a similar three-tiered programme was initiated in Odisha in April 2019, in partnership with Tata Steel and the Odisha government.

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