Developing hockey at grassroots

Abdul Ghani (centre) with organisers and sponsors of the Under-12 tournament. The third edition of the tournaments will see the participation of 60 teams from all over the country.

THE third Piala Orang Besar Daerah Klang Under-12 Hockey Tournament will see 60 teams featured over this weekend at the Pandamaran hockey stadium in Klang.

Teams from Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Penang and Selangor are all geared up for the six-a-side development tournament where two titles will be up for grabs.

While last year’s champions from Kuala Lumpur (Boy’s) and Penang (Girl’s) are eyeing consecutive wins, it will not be a foregone conclusion.

Tournament director and SK Taman Gembira Girls Under-12 coach Azman Ali said the school was targeting to win the Boy’s and Girl’s titles this year after finishing second in both categories in last year’s edition.

“Though this year we are developing our players with Majlis Perbandaran Klang (MPK) and have placed our best boys and girls players under the MPK team, we also have high hopes for our school teams and are aiming to do our best.

“For the SK Taman Gembira boys and girls squad, our aim is to give the players as much exposure and we are not putting too much pressure on them as our better players are going to be playing for MPK,” he said, after sponsors presented mock cheques to the organisers.

This year’s edition is organised by SK Taman Gembira Klang, the school’s Parent-Teacher Association with assistance from MPK which is the official venue sponsor.

SK Taman Gembira has been designated as a centre for hockey development in the Klang education district.

Other sponsors of the tournament include Nestle Milo, McDonald’s Malaysia and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

PTA president Datuk Seri Abdul Mutalib Aman Shah said the objective of the tournament is to raise the level of hockey among schoolchildren.

“We hope that the talents who perform well in this tournament can go on to be developed further to one day become internationals.

“Hockey is one of the strong points of this school and SK Taman Gembira has seen a number of its students go on to become national players.

“The PTA fully supports this tournament which marks the start of our hockey team’s journey for competitions lineup for the rest of the year.

Orang Besar Daerah Klang Datuk Abdul Ghani Pateh Akhir said Klang district used to be the envy of other district clubs and teams when it came to hockey.

He said the tournament will benefit the game as a whole and serve as a platform to encourage children to take up the sport.

“Sports should be encouraged. If our

children are always on their phones,

how can they benefit from exercise?” he asked.

He added that sports can give children an opportunity to excel outside the classroom and for them to learn values that books alone cannot provide.

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