Bhopal:In 2006 the Madhya Pradesh government initiated a state wide sporting talent hunt that tried to cover both the hinterland and urban slums. In our special Teachers' Day series, 'THE GURU & THE GLORY', here's a story of one coach who believed in this treasure hunt and came up with state level players in just one year.
Deepa Vishwakarma played hockey barefooted and got her first pair of shoes from a second hand store. Seema Nerte was watching her schoolmate play who gave her the hockey stick to hold just for a moment. A year ago, the slum where she lives mocked Madhu Sondhiya's attempts at playing hockey.
All three, have four things in common. First, their parents earn less than 3000 in a month. Deepa's mother works as a baby sitter, Madhu's mother is a domestic help and Deepa's father is a gardener. Second, they live in slums. Third, in under a year of training, now they play for Madhya Pradesh. And the fourth, Chak didi or their coach Yogeeta naidu.
"My coach said you will lose one day, the second day, but the third day will be yours," said Madhu, a hockey player from Madhya Pradesh.
Yogeeta's own humble beginnings made her go to the slums, asking parents to send their children to play hockey. A year ago, ten children came. Today they are hundred.
Astroturf maybe a dream here but they have something else.
"Since the time they were born, they have struggled. Now they translate that emotion on the ground," said Yogeeta Naidu, the district coach of Bhopal.