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JFHA: New things in the New Tournament (11/25/2011)
--Shashank Gupta
One always feels professionalism and brand quality are the virtues that hockey need at present. And we have them in adequate measure in an event that gets underway today in Bangalore.

The event is Jude Felix Hockey Academy (JFHA) Inter-School Hockey Tournament, a brainchild of former hockey star Jude Felix

We don’t get teams participating from outside cities and from another country in an “Inter-School” tournament.

As the backdrop is different, so is the forefront. Various colored Banners pasted around the turf, a unique looking score-board, flying pigeons and balloons to mark the start the tournament, a professional anchor on the mike, a DJ (of IPL fame) are some notable features.

The line up of the JFHA Inter School Hockey Tournament is impressive: Raffles School Singapore– a premier school in Singapore coached by Jude Felix himself, Vinay Kumar High School, Ananthpur - a team of NGO Stick For India, Maria Niketan Bangalore – of JFHA, and 3 other local teams from Bangalore – St. Joseph’s High School, Evergreen High School and St. Joseph’s Indian High School. undefined

The tournament will see costly Kookaburras balls in use. The organizers say its part of their approach to hockey where one has to 'fee real hockey, facilities and others'.

An event management company, spacious tents for each team, with water cans and plenty of chairs for each one of the teams are not a common sight at a ‘school level tournament’.

The team marquees are put up at convenient places so as to watch the matches closely.

And when you check the schedule of the matches, the 1st match starts when the sun calls it a day, you realize, “Oh! Matches are being played under floodlights.”

A premier catering company as the snack sponsor adds to the whole environment, and one is assured whatever food children and supporting staff will eat isn’t a low-quality one.

On technical front, JFHA also launched their website a few days back. The usage of bright and various shade of colors is a give-away: It’s a site about children. In our country, there aren’t many Hockey academies that have their academy websites. undefined

The format too is interestingly conceived what with 30-minute game, 15 minute each halve etc. Penalty Corners comprise solitary player versus goalkeeper, with a run-down from the 25 yard line in a 10 seconds deadline.

"The game needs to be fast and the children should have hungry for more goals", said an official. This was proved right, the five matches played on the opening day witnessed 27 goals!

The JFHA team is trained by not less than ten professionals, with nputs from Jude Felix himself. However, this school, Maria Niketan, lost the opening two matches heavily, 0-5 and 1-8, they got snide remarks from the sidelines.

This is not correct, as the academy children are underprivileged, coaches face a emotional challenges and behavior problems which is not the case with respect to mainstream children.

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