While the Indian's women's hockey team is winning laurels for their spectacular performance at the recently-concluded Olympics, the ground reality at home is a bit different.
In Jharkhand, rice, salt and onions are the staple diet that budding hockey stars groomed by three academies run by the Jharkhand Sports Authority (JSA) survive on. The JSA runs three hockey academies for girls — two in Ranchi and one in Simdega. Salima Tete and Nikki Pradhan, who were members of the Olympic team at the Tokyo Games, are products of these academies.
On the rolls of the three academies are 75 prospective national players, all from rural backgrounds and completely dependent on government aid for a nutritious diet. They used to get ₹ 175 a day as diet allowance before COVID.
No Allowance For 17 Months
In April last year, the girls were sent back home and since then it has been an uphill struggle for them to stay fit. Deepti Kullu from Simdega said it is really a challenge to stay fit in this hour of crisis. "I have not received my diet allowance in 17 months. My poor family cannot spare money for my diet," she added.
To endure 70 minutes on the field, a player has to be mentally, psychologically and physically fit. However, the 70 minutes on the field is always the outcome of proper training, coaches said.
The players need milk, eggs, pulses, vegetables, meat, fish and fruits to get the right amount of calcium and protein. If denied, they may not develop the desired strength and stamina, required to play the sport. The state's Minister of Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs Hafizul Hassan assured to sort out the matter soon.
Meanwhile, the Jharkhand government recently announced that the state will provide ₹50 lakh each to Hockey players Salima Tete and Nikki Pradhan, hailing from the state, for their stellar performance in the Tokyo Olympics.