Bhubaneswar : The State government-run Hockey High-performance Centre, the Naval Tata Hockey Academy (NTHA) in Bhubaneswar, on Friday resumed outdoor training for players.
The players resumed training following the Standard Operating Procedures, laid down by the State and COVID-19 international guidelines for players laid down by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Led by Head Coach, P Laxminarayan, a team of 28 women players has been undergoing complete physical assessment and lab tests, performance management, and analysis at Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance Centre and individual Strength and Conditioning training.
Speaking about his team, Laxminarayan said they are focusing on strength and conditioning.
"In this short span, since their induction, the players have shown marked improvement in their performance. The right amount of exposure and specialized coaching from national and international coaches has added to their game. They, now, play with a greater level of confidence, The downtime is almost over for us all and we are looking at focusing on Strength and conditioning but in a planned and slow manner to avoid injury to muscles. Training with hockey sticks will commence from the first week of July," Laxminarayan said in a statement.
"Currently the players are training in a small cluster of five as part of the guidelines. In the coming weeks, additional five members of the HPC will rejoin the team, after completing their Quarantine period as they are from other states" he further added.
Sumi Maundari, who is from Panposh Sports Hostel, Rourkela, Odisha, said she missed playing while stressing that there is no substitute for outdoor training.
"It is exciting to be back on this blue turf, with my teammates and coaches. We miss our hockey sticks but we will start training with them soon. Nothing substitutes outdoor training. We have all missed this dearly and glad to resume training," Maundari said.
The Hockey High-Performance Centre which has been set up by the Government of Odisha in a unique partnership with Tata Steel and Tata Trusts to boost Hockey functions as a National Academy with a focus on Odisha. It has 18 cadets from Odisha, five from Jharkhand, two from Assam and one each from Punjab, UP and Manipur which makes it 28 with a maximum capacity of 30 girls.
Speaking about this transition from pre to post COVID-19 environment, Rajiv Seth, Project Director, NTHA, Odisha, said "We ensure athletes strictly follow social distancing while interacting with fellow sportspersons, trainers and support staff, wear masks (when not training) wash hands and maintain personal hygiene. Their health is closely monitored for any flu-like symptoms. Thermal screening and sanitization of turf, prior to every session is undertaken. We have conducted a session to create awareness on the pandemic risk and COVID-19 local transmissions. Online coaching has also been adopted,"