HomeSports 2.0KreedOn Case StudySimdega’s Hockey: A Journey Towards Prosperity and Unwavering Success
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Simdega’s Hockey: A Journey Towards Prosperity and Unwavering Success

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Simdega, a tribal-dominated district in Jharkhand, India, has emerged as the hockey cradle of the state, earning accolades for its inclusive approach to the sport. The district, once mired in Maoist insurgency, has become a shining example of the Hockey India initiative, “Har Ghar Ho Hockey Ki Pehchan,” aiming to bring hockey to every household in the country. Simdega’s commitment to organizing competitions across all its panchayats has not only produced over 40 international hockey players but has also created a transformative narrative of hockey as a ticket out of poverty.

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Background of Simdega’s Hockey Legacy

Salima Tete | KreedOn
Image Source: olympics.com

Simdega’s hockey legacy is enriched by Olympians like Michael Kindo, Sylvanus Dungdung, and Salima Tete. The district’s 94 panchayats have actively participated in organizing tournaments, involving more than 1900 players. Hockey India Secretary-General Bhola Nath Singh lauds Simdega as the only district in the country implementing the Har Ghar Ho Hockey Ki Pehchan program comprehensively.

Simdega’s Path to Empowering Girls

Simdega Hockey Players | KreedOn
Image Source: The Times of A Better India

In Simdega, hockey has proven to be a powerful tool for empowering girls and challenging societal norms. Sangita, a star forward, exemplifies this transformation, as her successful hockey career has lifted her family out of dire poverty. Her father, Ranjit Manjhi, faced the harsh reality of insufficient food for his family of eight. However, Sangita’s dedication to hockey not only secured her a spot in the senior national hockey team but also a job with the railways since 2021. The Manjhi family’s story reflects the dream that Simdega wakes up to every morning – a life improved through the pursuit of hockey, turning it into a source of pride and a pathway to prosperity.

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The Complete History of Hockey in India KreedOnAlso Read | History of Hockey: From a Foreign Game to India’s National Sport

In Simdega, playing hockey has helped girls a lot. Normally, people think only boys can play hockey, but these girls are changing that idea. They are like pioneers, showing everyone that girls can be great at hockey too. By doing this, they are making things better for the girls who will come after them.

Playing hockey gives these girls more than just skills on the field. It makes them feel strong and confident. They learn how to be leaders, and they teach everyone that boys and girls should be treated the same. The girls who play hockey in Simdega are breaking old rules about what girls can and cannot do.

And it’s not just about playing a game – it’s about changing how people think. These girls are making sure that everyone in Simdega knows that girls can do anything. This is not only good for the girls playing now but also for all the girls who will want to play in the future. Simdega’s girls playing hockey are like superheroes, showing everyone that we should all be equal, no matter if we are boys or girls.

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Hockey in Simdega – A Weapon Against Trafficking

Human trafficking in India | KreedOn
Image Source: GS Score

Simdega’s rising interest in hockey seems to have inadvertently become a deterrent for human traffickers. While causation is challenging to establish, the correlation between the sport’s popularity and a decline in trafficking cases is noteworthy. In 2020, Jharkhand reported 140 cases of human trafficking, 5th highest amongst the Indian states. 22 cases were registered in Simdega that year. Contrastingly, next year, in 2021 Simdega witnessed a substantial decrease, with 14 recorded cases. The positive impact of hockey in Simdega is not merely confined to the playing field but appears to extend its influence on social issues, making it a potential deterrent against criminal activities like human trafficking. This unexpected consequence adds another layer to Simdega’s unique narrative, showcasing how hockey is not only transforming lives but also contributing to the broader well-being of the community.

Inclusive Selection Process

Hockey Simdega | KreedOn
Image Source: lagatar24.com

Simdega’s approach to talent identification is innovative, combining three to four panchayats to host trial tournaments. This ensures equal opportunities for aspiring players, especially those from rural areas and tribal belts. Hosting tournaments at the grassroots level eliminates barriers faced by children below the poverty line, who may struggle to participate in events held at district headquarters.

Strategic Age Criteria

The district’s focus on players under 16 aims to provide them with proper coaching, preparing them for sub-junior tournaments the following year. This strategic age criterion ensures a pipeline of talent for higher-level competitions and fosters the development of young players.


Hockey tournaments in India | KreedOnAlso Read | Hockey Tournaments in India | Oldest Hockey Tournaments in India to HPL

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Challenges Faced by Simdega

Challenges | KreedOn
Image Source: zeenews.india.com

Simdega, despite its hockey success, faces numerous challenges, including multidimensional poverty, lack of education, healthcare, and employment opportunities. The Naxalite insurgency further compounds these issues. However, hockey has emerged as a beacon of hope, offering a way out for the youth facing these adversities.

Hockey as a Way of Life

Cheering for Team India | KreedOn
Image Source: cathelete.com

In Simdega, hockey is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life, a source of pride, and a transformative opportunity. The success stories of legends like Sylvanus Dung Dung, Michael Kindo, and Salima Tete inspire youngsters to overcome challenges and dream big. Government-run hockey academies and day-boarding centers provide coaching, meals, and stipends, nurturing talent from a young age.

Socio-Economic Impact

Simdega Hockey | KreedOn
Hemant Soren during the inaugural ceremony of national hockey meet in Simdega. – Image Source: The Telegraph Online

Hockey has not only brought fame to Simdega but has also significantly improved the socio-economic conditions of players and their families. Many have secured jobs in crucial sectors like railways and police, supporting their families and contributing to the community. The success stories include players building homes, acquiring vehicles, and investing in education and business ventures. In 2021, Hemat Soren initiated various welfare schemes worth INR 32 Crores. Moreover, 79 youth were given the letter of appointment.

Conclusion

Simdega’s journey from a Maoist-affected district to the hockey cradle of Jharkhand is a testament to the transformative power of sports, specifically hockey, as a means to alleviate poverty and create a positive societal impact. The district’s commitment to inclusive and grassroots-level initiatives not only fosters talent but also ensures that hockey becomes a source of pride and opportunity for all, irrespective of background or economic status. Simdega’s story serves as an inspiration for other regions, highlighting the potential of sports to bring about lasting change in communities facing adversity.


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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

What is Simdega’s hockey?

Simdega’s hockey refers to the fervor and skill for the sport among the residents of Simdega, a tribal-influenced region in Jharkhand, India.

Why is hockey so popular in Simdega?

In Simdega, hockey serves as both a means to escape poverty and a source of pride for the tribal communities. It offers hope in challenging living conditions and limited opportunities. The sport is backed by government and local associations, providing coaching, facilities, and incentives to nurture talented players.

How did Simdega celebrate the men’s hockey team’s bronze medal in Tokyo Olympics 2020?

The people of Simdega celebrated with joy and excitement as the Indian men’s hockey team secured a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, breaking a 41-year gap for the nation. The hockey players and their families in Simdega rejoiced, dancing to the beat of drums and showing support for the team’s remarkable achievement. Additionally, they expressed their optimism for the women’s hockey team, which featured two players from Simdega, Salima Tete and Nikki Pradhan.

Who is Sylvanus Dung Dung?

Sylvanus Dung Dung, born in Simdega in 1949, is a former Indian hockey player and Olympian. He excelled as a full-back and was a member of the Indian team that achieved gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

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Top 10 All-Time Greatest Hockey Players in India Top 10 Hockey Shoes to Buy in India List of Indian Hockey Movies | The Hockey Sagas Men’s Hockey World Cup: List of Winners from 1973-2018 National Sports Day 2023 | The Spirit of Sports!