Hockey Coorg gets associate member status

The governing body for hockey in the country, Hockey India, announced on Monday that Hockey Coorg will be inducted as an associate member in their set-up.

The move will now see Karnataka represented by two individual bodies; Hockey Karnataka and Hockey Coorg, and both units will be allowed to field teams at the National Championships.

“Hockey Coorg’s priority will remain the same and that is to nurture talent for the Karnataka side,” PE Kalaiah, president of Hockey Coorg, told Deccan Herald. “They (Hockey Karnataka) will have first refusal of right (players) from the talent pool and we will then give the remaining players a platform to improve their skills.

“The concept of this membership is not to attract boys who are playing in Bengaluru but originally are from Coorg, but rather to have a larger talent pool that remains in the State. Plenty of players are either on the fringe or ply their trade in different States. We might as well have them play for our State and remain at home,” he explained, while alleying any fears of change in dynamics of the functioning of HK.

Spotting talent
Hockey Coorg has 24 senior teams from different parts of Coorg that are affiliated to them but talent-spotting at the school level remains on top of their list of priorities. “Hockey Coorg’s first preference will be to conduct school-level tournaments and ensure that the players have the right infrastructure and opportunity to play. Presently, more than half the boys at the SAI camp in Bengaluru are from Coorg and have worked their way up the existing system,” added Kalaiah. 

Sandeep Somesh, Joint Secretary of Hockey Karnataka,  echoed Kalaiah’s sentiments on the subject.

“This is a move in the right direction for Hockey Karnataka as the players we nurture will have more opportunities to represent the State, since Hockey Coorg is an affiliated body and we will get to choose the best players from a larger group,” he noted.
Sandeep also dismissed any concerns of presence of two teams hampering the functioning of the body.

“Nothing changes,” he stressed. “Though Hockey Coorg will be an independent body, Hockey Karnataka remains the regulating body for hockey in the State.”
While both bodies will look to work in tandem in the near future, plans on infrastructure and other training processess are still in the pipeline.

“Hockey Coorg will work alongside us in the future but the roles for both bodies will be clearly defined and we will look to execute them,” remarked Somesh.

While divulging into the role that Hockey Coorg could carry out, the former India International spoke of Coorg being a  perfect breeding ground for budding talent.
“We have seen that over the last several years, Coorg has produced some of the best players that the country has seen. I have no doubt that they will continue to do a fine job. They have been organising inter-school and inter-college tournaments as well as club-level tournaments from where players have been spotted and trained,” he pointed out.

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