Children hone their archery skills during the camp at Tata Digwadih Stadium, Dhanbad, on Monday. (Gautam Dey)
If some spent the summer vacation in front of the TV with the AC on in full blast, a bunch of 288 children instead beat the heat by working up a sweat in a host of sporting disciplines.
These children took part in a 10-day summer coaching camp organised by Tata Steel Jharia division at Tata Digwadih Stadium in Dhanbad. The camp, which began on May 15, concluded on Monday with the distribution of certificates among the participants. Though the camp was supposed to get over on May 24, due to the sudden death of one Tata Steel official, the camp was suspended for two days in between.
Aimed at promoting and nurturing sporting talent, the organisers had roped in skilled coaches who conducted the training session from 6am to 8 in the morning.
Of the 288 participants — all aged between three and nine years — 81 took the training in athletics, while 82 showed interest in cricket, 75 honed their soccer skills and 50 in participated in archery. All they had to do was pay a token Rs 100 for registration.
While addressing the participants and organisers during the concluding ceremony at Tata Digwadih Stadium, general manager of Jharia division of the steel major and chief guest Sanjay Singh underlined the importance of sports and encouraged girls to come up in more numbers.
“This time, of the total number of participants, only a meagre 10 per cent was girls. This should be increased to about 50 per cent next year,” he added.
About the organising aspect, Singh asked the in-charge of the Tata feeder centre in Jharia Bala Shankar Jha to divide the camp into two sections. One would be for participants who have some basic knowledge of the game and the other would be a general group for fresh participants.
The children are more than satisfied with the camp.
Chandan Kumar Singh, a student of Class VI of IGA High School in Dhanbad, who underwent training in football, said, “I learnt cutting, warm up and other activities during the camp.”
Notably, the Jharia division of the steel major started organising this sports summer camp from last year. They use this camp to scout for new talent. Once the camp is over, the organisers choose some of the promising participants for further training at the feeder centre. Last year, about seven of the total 298 students who participated in the sports summer camp were selected.
Speaking to The Telegraph on the sidelines of the ceremony, Singh said: “Tata Steel Jharia division will develop a ground for morning walkers and equip the green lung with tracks and other facilities this year. The hunt for a suitable land is on. As of now, we have shortlisted three sites.
The general manager also added that they would soon replace a few sporting gears like the bow and arrow at the Jharia feeder centre.
“The new ones will come from our centre in Jamshedpur,” Singh added.