Bhubaneswar: Naval Tata Hockey Academy(NTHA) , a joint initiative by Tata Steel, Tata Trust and Odisha government, opened Tuesday for the hockey talents of the State.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the Academy here at the Kalinga Stadium. The Academy will groom the hockey talents in the State for national and international hockey events.

“I am glad that the high performance centre for hockey has been inaugurated today. I hope young olympians will be the products of the centre,” the CM said.

The experts engaged by Tata Steel & Tata Trust will work to further enhance the efficiency and excellence of the Regional Development Centres (RDCs) in government sports hostels in Bhubaneshwar, Sundargarh and Rourkela.

Ten to 12 grassroots centres will be established initially in Sambalpur and Sundargarh districts. Talents scouted from the grassroots centres will be recommended for admission into the sports hostels, said an official.

The grassroots centres and the RDCs will ensure a continuous flow of talent into the NTHA. The government will help develop the infrastructure in these regions to improve the quality of hockey players being fed into the RDCs and NTHA, the official said.

Sports minister Tusharkanti Behera said: “With the establishment of NTHA, youth from the state will get best-in-class training on artificial turf from an early age which will enable the players to compete at par with their international counterparts. This initiative will also help in making high-performance hockey coaches.”