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NTPC to sponsor 54th Women Nationals (3/13/2006)
--s2h team
13th March 2006: The 54th Senior National Championship for women, being sponsored by public sector giant National Thermal Power Corporation, will be held between 23rd and 30th of this month at New Delhi. Announcing this in a press meet, Vidya Stokes, President, Indian Women Hockey Federation, said that the 16 players who are at Melbourne at present will also join the Nationals after the Commonwealth Games and figure in the crucial matches.

She expressed a sense of satisfaction that IWHF has been organizing the Nationals for various categories every year without fail. “Perhaps we are the only national sports body doing this so punctually”, she said.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri G.K. Agarwal, Executive Director (HR&PMI)gave perspectives on NTPC’s holistic approach to sports and NTPC’s role in promoting both Indian and institution’s sporting culture. “NTPC is 30 years old now. The women’s national is older than ours. We are, therefore, happy to associate ourselves with such a traditional event”. The immediate idea behind the NTPC’s foray into women hockey, according to Agarwal, is ‘to support empowerment of women’.

It is for the first time that NTPC is entering the arena of hockey, though it has sponsored many national and international events in the recent past, including 13th World Men’s under-21 Volleyball Championships, 5th Asia & South Pacific Table Tennis Championship, Senior National Weightlifting Championships, 8th World WUSHU Championship and others.

Vidhya Stokes called upon the public sector giant to involve more and more in sporting activities, and invited to adopt prospective sports persons from across a wide canvass. “Let it be any discipline of sport, not necessarily hockey, but young sportspersons of this country need patronage”, she opined.

Perhaps she is aware that NTPC has been adopting under-16 badminton and table tennis players.

Stokes also hinted coming of a hockey academy for girls and some corporates ’ interest in women having their own PHL and a collaboration between Indian and Italian women Federation to exchange players for mutual benefit.

Answering to a query, an IWHF official clarified that unlike last year this year final will be held as per the FIH rules and thus ruled out any compromise so that a situation would arise for declaring joint winners. It is to be mentioned here that last year the championship had been shared by Railways and Haryana due to surcharged atmosphere prevailed in the final. Both teams scored a goal apiece in the regulation time and extra time play was not held

Also present on the occaion include Shri R.K. Rustagi, Executive Director (HR) of NTPC and T.S. Rajpoot, DGM, who compered the programme.

As in the last year, two qualifiers from six zones (Chandigarh & Punjab from Region I, UP and Delhi from Region II, Bombay & Maharashtra from Region III, Jharkhand & Manipur from Region IV, Orissa & M.P. from Region V and Kerala & Tamil Nadu from Region VI) will be joined by the finalists of previous edition (Railways & Haryana) this year for the title honour.

IWHF Secretary announced that many individual players will be picked up during the nationals for special awards such as Player of the Tournament etc. She invited NTPC to come forward and sponsor Annual Hockey Women Player of the year Award for a period of five years.

It is worth mentioning here that during a discussion on how to improve women hockey in India, this writer suggested IWHF to have a women player of the year in order to improve the publicity and profile of women sport, the details of which are given in the International Hockey Year Book 2006 on page No. 210.

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