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Hockey grassroots programes started by Goan-origin Olympians take shape in Velim school

St Xavier’s High School Velim boys get basic hockey lessons courtesy of Cuncolim HC coach Glestone

St Xavier’s High School Velim boys get basic hockey lessons courtesy of Cuncolim HC coach Glestone

VELIM, SALCETE, GOA: Cuncolim Hockey Club has shifted gears and has stepped away from the boundaries of Cuncolim and entered neighbouring Velim Village with aforesaid goal of promoting the game in different schools of Assolna, Velim, Cuncolim and Chinchinim (AVCC).

On Friday, the first stop over for coach Glestone Fernandes of Cuncolim Hockey Club, happened at St Xavier’s High School Velim.

With the full backing and encouragement of Headmistress Mabel and Physical Education Teacher Edelbert around 20 students of the school took baby steps in the game of hockey.

“It was a great first day for hockey in Velim. The children were excited to take up the game. Thanks to the wonderful support of Headmistress Mabel and Physical Education Teacher Edelbert, this was possible,” said Glestone, who learnt his hockey as a boarder in Goa and thereafter in Mumbai.

As a player he continued his Indian playing experience in Oman where he worked for many years and has since returned to Goa and made his passion to spread a sporting culture in his home village in Cuncolim starting with hockey and also encouraging children to take up other sports like basketball and football through various village level clubs.

The AVCC project has the full backing of a couple of Goan Olympians Joaquim Carvalho, Clarence Lobo and Merwyn Fernandis, who have already provided hockey sticks and balls for Cuncolim Hockey Club. Plans are shortlist and find venues in and around AVCC and train the children, with focus on 5-a-side hockey, a version which has become quite popular on the global stage.

Sources close to Cuncolim Hockey Club said the plan is to train more youngsters to be coaches and also provide payment for the hockey coaches.

With St Xavier’s High School Velim happening to be the first stop for hockey in AVCC schools, more schools will be part of the plan.

The other schools which have shown keen interest in grassroots programme in Cuncolim are Our Lady of Health HS Cuncolim, Infant Jesus High School Cuncolim and Cuncolim United High School.

“We have got a good response from the Cuncolim school and we will be approaching a few schools in Assolna and Chinchinim, so that the movement spread throughout Velim, Assolna, Cuncolim and Chnchinim,” added Glestone.

Incidentally, Glestone was the chief architect of starting Cuncolim Hockey club in Cuncolim in 2014 but the club went into cold storage on account of the political interference but was revived this year. The revived version of the club has been crowd funded by Goans based in different parts of the world, and also by Goan Olympians and Goans based in Goa. A few footballers and cricketers, present and past have chipped in to make it a success.

Around 40, both boys and girls, are training on a regular basis at Cuncolim Union Sports Complex under Glestone every Sunday.

Cuncolim Hockey have a couple of girl players, Brunila Andrade and Farissa Nunes who have already represented the state in the all India national championship.

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