From Grassroots to Glory: Tata Steel Foundation Elevates Dhenkanal’s Volleyball Talents

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~ 176 participate in state-level competitions, 23 at national-level championships ~

~ Coaching, mentoring provided to 680 youth including 120 female players ~

Narendrapur, June 13, 2024:  Barsa Rani Nayak from Badibahal village under the Hindol Block, Dhenkanal District had always dreamt of joining the police force. A student of Class 11 at Parikula Higher Secondary School, she knew it would be a tough task. But things changed in 2023 when she joined the Tata Steel Foundation (TSF)-run volleyball coaching center at Khaliberana Village – she now had a new ambition. With mentoring and training from Ashutosh Das, a national-level volleyball coach with 11 years of experience, she shaped herself into a professional player and finally showcased her talent at the 45th Sub-Junior National Volleyball Championship at Hooghly, West Bengal, in 2023.

“Initially, my aim was to join the police. But after being introduced to volleyball, I dream of making the nation proud one day by playing for the country at an international level,” says Barsa, reflecting on the impact volleyball has had on her life. “The confidence I now have in me is my source of strength. Initially, I’d feel embarrassed wearing shorts on the court, but today, after having represented the state in tournaments and gained exposure, I am more confident about participating in any competition,” she continued, her voice brimming with palpable excitement.

Furthermore, two promising players, Bikash Patra and Sambit Behera from Sarpa-Raghunathpur and Khaliberana villages respectively, have been selected for the Junior India Camp. This highlights the potential of local talent nurtured under TSF’s guidance. TSF also plays an instrumental role in providing essential nutrition support and food supplements to volleyball enthusiasts, emphasising the importance of physical health and performance enhancement.

In continuation of its commitment to fostering sports and nurturing local talent, TSF Meramandali proudly supports and mentors young volleyball players in villages around the Tata Steel Meramandali (TSM) plant at Narendrapur in Odapada Block of Dhenkanal.

TSF has diligently coached and mentored 680 youth from peripheral villages, including 120 female players. Four coaching centres have been set up in 4 villages where players from 16 peripheral villages receive regular coaching and mentoring. Three coaches have also been appointed specifically for grassroots-level development. Their commitment has yielded remarkable results, with 176 excelling in state tournaments, 23 representing at the national level, and two securing spots for the prestigious Bachelor of Physical Education (BPEd) course at the Government College of Physical Education at Bhubaneswar and Sambalpur. The dedication of young female athletes has garnered attention at both the state and national level, with 27 female players competing in state-level championships and 11 girls representing Angul and Dhenkanal at the 48th Junior National Volleyball Trials at Bhubaneswar.

TSF has also installed solar-powered lights to ensure uninterrupted volleyball coaching at the centres and enriching the local sporting landscape as volleyball emerges as a key driver of rural sports development in these areas. Recognising the importance of holistic development, TSF extends support beyond the realm of sports by offering leadership enhancement programmes like Outdoor Leadership Camps (OLC), adventure sports, and training on volunteerism for village development. Tata Steel has championed sports development for over a century, investing in the growth of diverse disciplines. Continuing this legacy, TSF remains committed to mentoring young volleyball talent hailing from the peripheral villages of Tata Steel Meramandali plant in Dhenkanal and Angul districts

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