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Hockey playing kids of OTHL (Image: OTHL)
Hockey playing kids of OTHL (Image: OTHL)

Disqualification in Beijing Olympics 2008 led to birth of One Thousand Hockey Legs

ANI | Updated: Jan 04, 2022 20:22 IST

By Vipul Kashyap
New Delhi [India], January 4 (ANI): In the year 2008 when the Indian hockey team failed to qualify for Olympics, K Arumugam, a freelance journalist, decided to do something for the game: He started an NGO named 'One Thousand Hockey Legs' (OTHL) which started giving training to underprivileged youngsters who could not afford to play the game with the help of some schools and grounds.
Today his initiative has spread to five states including Delhi and his aim is to produce a 1,000 players for the country. One of his students represented India at the international level in Under-18 Asia Cup where the country bagged a gold medal.

"In 2008 when our country failed to qualify for Olympics in hockey, I was troubled because that was first time when we failed to have the Olympic ticket, So, I decided to do something for the game and the country. I first started an academy in Pondicherry where all the poor children come to play. This is how this journey started and then we reached Delhi. Now in Delhi we have 25 schools where we are running this programme and out of 25 schools 18 are government schools. The children coming there belonged to poor and underprivileged families and they did not even have enough money for food but were enthusiastic about the game and they loved to play with us," said by K Arumugam, founder of OTHL.
Arumugam was conferred the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar in the year 2016 for his contribution to Indian hockey.
"This platform is useful for children not only for their physical fitness but also their academics and future financial condition. One of our children has represented India in under-18 Asia Cup and when he crossed age of 18, he got a job in Punjab National Bank. He was the son of a driver. Three of our students got admission in country's topmost institution Shri Ram College of Commerce on sports merit list. Last year 12 of our students were part of the Delhi state team of 18," said Arumugam.
India's hockey glory returned when our men's team won a medal after 41 years and the women's team showed their best performance in the Tokyo Olympics. These achievements have motivated youngsters to do something big like them. (ANI)