International Hockey Federation (FIH) has listed One Thousand Hockey Legs as one of the three Global Projects of Asia for the year 2016.
As part of our series looking at some of the standout Global hockey Projects from 2016, we look at some projects in Asia that have the potential to inspire others in 2017...
Project gathers pace in India
One Thousand Hockey Legs is a project based in India that introduces hockey to school kids.
It's a programme that was started by K Arumugam, the founder of the non-governmental organisation Hockey Citizen Group, with the aim of providing children with an opportunity to understand, play and enjoy hockey.
The programme structure includes forming one or two teams per school, conducting friendly matches between schools, forming a team in each city, participating in state and national level competitions, holding exhibition matches, organising an annual hockey run and mentoring talent for the national team.
The sub-plot of One Thousand Hockey Legs is to help lift disadvantaged children out of poverty and give them an opportunity for a better life.
Explaining in greater depth just what One Thousand Legs hopes to achieve, Arumugam says: “The chief target of the NGO is to bring 500 new kids into hockey in each city in India. The idea is to start and then run hockey teams in at least 25 schools in each city.”
Currently, OTHL is working with teachers in 80 schools across five cities. This target has already been reached in Delhi, and an additional target was met when three young players from Delhi were selected to play in the 2015 Junior National Championships.
“It is an uphill task, but so far, we have introduced about 2,400 children to the sport.” said Arumugam, who received the Hockey India Outstanding Achievement of the Year award in 2014.
The most recent initiative is the new Sunday league which OTHL runs to encourage young people who have dropped out of the formal hockey programme because of academic overload or an inability to make the school teams. This accounts for about 25 per cent of the students who started playing the sport and is an informal and fun way to re-engage with the students.
Developing sustained passion for Hockey by introduction of Hockey to pre and early teenaged children and simultaneously promoting playing sport as a culture and tradition, thereby contributing to develop a sports loving society.