centre stage

The sporting life and a social bent

Hockey in Jharkhand and Odisha, badminton in Mizoram, athletics in Uttarakhand, football and boxing in Manipur and cricket in Mumbai — the Tata Trusts have long promoted the cause of different sports and those who pursue them, particularly children and young adults. This sporting effort is channelised through programmes that start at the grassroots and then progress to regional development centres and academies of excellence. A critical component here is blending sports and a regular education that instils life skills such as discipline, teamwork and self-confidence.

(clockwise from left) A grassroots centre in Gangutoli in Simdega district in Jharkhand. A coach with his wards at the Birsa College ground in Khunti (Jharkhand) during a clinic conducted as part of a hockey festival in March this year.  Former India ace Dhanraj Pillay with junior women’s players at the ‘high-performance centre’ in Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

(clockwise from left) Girls training at the Gutuhatu grassroots centre in Khunti, which has 42 children from two villages, 50% of them girls. A coach maps out tactics ahead of a friendly match in Rourkela between girls from the Simdega regional development centre and the Panposh Sports Hostel. Trainees, coaches and team members of Bovelander & Bovelander BV, founded by Dutch great Floris Jan Bovelander (standing fifth from left), at the launch of the Simdega grassroots hockey programme in December 2017.

Scenes from the badminton initiative in Aizawl in Mizoram, which includes grassroots training and two regional development centres where 30 of the most promising players are given special coaching, proper equipment and exposure to out-of-state tournaments. Seen above centre is Pullela Gopichand (in red), former All England winner in men’s singles and currently the chief national coach of the Indian team. Mr Gopichand and his team have been ardent supporters of the Tata Trusts’ badminton programme.

(clockwise from above) The launch of the Manipur grassroots football programme. Primary school teachers from Jadipani in Uttarakhand’s Tehri Garhwal district during a ‘physical literacy workshop’ (they were trained to teach academic concepts through experiential physical activities). Players from the centre of excellence training at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Mizoram. Children from a primary school in Jadipani making alphabet shapes with their hands during the same programme.

Two of the trainees at the Mary Kom Boxing Academy in Imphal, Manipur, who have been supported by the Tata Trusts: state-level junior boys champion Amarjit Singh (left) and Elangbam Thoithoi Devi, a state-level champion in the junior girls category

Taking a swing at a tournament organised under the ‘life through cricket’ programme, which trained 48 girls and 98 boys in Mumbai.