New Delhi:School children in capital participated in a hockey camp which was aimed to revive the game at school level.
National keeper Adrian D'Souza showed the children the tricks of his trade. It's a wonder anyone still cares and this hockey carnival is recognition of that fact.
"These kids are all either first timers, or have been playing the game for a month or two. But they're all enjoying, and that's what matters the most," said Adrian D'souza.
Organised by a sports development agency, it aims at encouraging and developing India's national sport amongst children.
The carnival includes India's first six-a-side school tournament with ten teams participating. And judging by success of Thursday's special clinic, it has at least caught their attention.
"I had a lot of fun here. Adrian D'souza, goal keeper of the Indian team, showed me the basics. He showed me how to tackle the ball when it comes near your face, how to keep your knees bent while keeping," said a child.
"I think you get to learn a lot of team spirit from hockey. This is a great learning experience," added another.
The carnival, the tournament and the clinic all have the official support of the Indian Hockey Federation and its international parent body. But for the steady development of the sport, one clinic is just not good enough.
"This kind of thing should be regular not only in Delhi but all over. I've seen the hockey atmosphere in Punjab, that same atmosphere should be transferred to the other states as well, and once it is there, there is no reason why hockey cant reach the level where it was earlier," said Jagbir Singh, former hockey Olympian.
The carnival atmosphere was an attempt at making this tournament a more attractive proposition not just for the children, but also the sponsors and those involved are optimistic that their efforts will not go in vain.
This seems like a very small effort to revive hockey in India. One cannot expect to produce national level players only through tournaments like this. But at least it will revive some interest in hockey which has steadily dwindled after the country's poor performances.