Indian Hockey legends, Dhanraj Pillay along with ace drag flicker Len Aiyapa and Dilip Tirkey visited the Naval Tata Hockey Academy Odisha (NTHA -O) and interacted with the girl cadets and coaching staff of the Hockey High Performance Centre.
The trio surprised the young hockey players on the blue turf as they took on the sticks to share the tricks of the sport. They interacted and mingled with the young cadets and shared life learning with them.
Pillay said, “Never compare yourself with another, on any aspect. Only aim to better oneself at the game. Those times were different. Today, the turfs are equipped for better results. Follow the coach, learn the tricks, and constantly strive to better your skill."
Pillay said, “Even today, the global hockey fraternity talks about the spectacular Hockey World Cup hosted by Odisha in 2018.
The State has set a benchmark. Even the hospitality extended to players was by far the best.
I thank the Government of Odisha and Naval Tata Hockey Academy Odisha for giving me this opportunity to visit the centre.
It is always a pleasure to be on the turf and interact with young hockey players. These young legs made me work hard this morning and I am so pleased to notice this talent here.”
Sumi Mundari, who hails from Rourkela, shared, “We had only seen him on TV. Today, we trained with him on the turf. It is like a dream come true.
"Len Aiyappa, India's fastest and most successful drag-flicker demonstrated the art of drag flicking. Congratulating the State Government, he said, “I commend Odisha Government for giving youngsters the opportunity and facilities here, besides hosting all international tournaments here. The State will also host the 2023 Hockey World Cup."
Project Director, Naval Tata Hockey Academy, Odisha Rajiv Seth welcomed the legends, who also had a quick interaction with some aspiring boys who have come for final selection trials at the NTHA Odisha.