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Ananthapuram Sports Village (ASV)

As more and more schools built their sports curriculums with materials made available by RDT, the need was felt for a full-time residential centre which would offer sports training for talented children in a focussed way.

Between 2000 and 2006, infrastructure for various sports like cricket, hockey and football was created. Playgrounds, pavilions, and dormitories came up in this period. Coaches were recruited, residential and non-residential coaching centres for hockey, cricket, football, tennis, judo, softball were added between 2007 and 2015. 2015 also saw the addition of shooting and archery ranges.

By and large, each academy trains 25 – 40 students at a time. New children are admitted after older ones pass out of the programme, either after completing their intermediate, or degree level education. District Administrators, RDT staff members and government teachers form selection committees and the best sporting talent is picked for joining the academy. The academy houses and trains children aged 13 to 18 years. The coaching is residential and the children attend regular schools in the vicinity while they are at the ASV.

Their classroom performance is also monitored closely so that sports and education, both receive equal focus. Children enrolled at ASV receive the benefit of a full nutrition programme incorporating all three daily meals and snacks, and support for their education such as free of cost access to partner schools and colleges.

“Rural Cricket tournaments by District Cricket Association and RDT have yielded national-class players from places where we would have never thought to find such talent.”
Name
District Cricket Association, Ananthapuram

Practice sessions are held in the morning and evening and school attendance is mandatory. The academy organises annual events and mass coaching camps during the summer holidays, and special camps during the months of January and October. These are meant to expose children, their parents, and village authorities to the importance of sports and create a more accepting and encouraging community atmosphere from which sports talent can be easily identified and groomed. The centre is open to all students – irrespective of class, caste and gender from Ananthapuram and its surrounding villages up to a 5 km radius. Every year on National Sports Day, parents and children are invited to the academy. They are informed beforehand through press, school bulletin boards and public announcements about the celebration. On the day, different sports stalls related to 8 sports are erected for demonstration and try-outs. Children can try their hand at them, and with their parents’ consent, register on the spot for enrolment to the ASV for training. The Staff are oriented to talk to teachers and parents to support and promote sports participation.

The academy has the following facilities: 3 Cricket grounds

  • Athletics Track with 8 lanes
  • 2 Volleyball courts
  • 3 Tennis courts
  • Football ground
  • 2 Hockey grounds
  • Gymnasium
  • 16 dormitories (housing 20 students each)
  • Auditorium
  • Guest Houses

Cricket Academy

RDT’s ASV runs a Cricket programme across the district of Ananthapuram through 14 centers. The main one is the Cricket Academy at Ananthapuram Sports Village (ASV) established in 2004. Initially, the academy catered only to day-scholars, but in 2010, the residential programme was initiated for highly talented and motivated athletes, aiming to succeed at advanced levels. Selection of the qualifying athletes is made from other RDT Cricket centers and Regional Sports centers through a structured Talent ID programme developed by RDT.

Today, ASV supports a total of 70 boys playing at Under-14, Under-16 & Under-19 age groups.

The Cricket Academy has 4 full-time coaches to provide guidance, and besides the ASV, RDT has also established two other centers in Ananthapuram at Atmakur and Bathalapalli in 2011. Atmakur Centre Cricket Programme has 78 youth (15 girls and 63 boys) and Bathalapalli Centre Cricket Programme has 51 youth (all boys). The selection process is managed directly by RDT, where children are selected on the basis of their interest, talent and geography.

Annual rural cricket tournaments are organised regularly at area and central levels to recognise talents of students and players are awarded with trophies and citations. These tournaments have unearthed talented players who have gone on to play for many prestigious tournaments. District, state and South Zone inter-district matches in collaboration with District Cricket Association, ACA inter-zone and the BCCI Ranji Trophy matches are also organised at RDT ASV. Ananthapuram APL league is the rural cricket league that is active throughout the year with weekend practices.

Hockey Academy

RDT’s ASV runs a Hockey programme across the Ananthapuram district through 35 centres. The hockey academy at Ananthapuram Sports Village (ASV) was initially started for boys in 2007 and subsequently for girls in 2010. At present, there are 30 boys and 30 girls who are being given high-performance coaching in the Hockey Academy playing in Under-12, Under-14 & Under-17 age groups, along with education, boarding, lodging and competitive exposure.

The academy features quality infrastructure including two full-sized, gravel hockey grounds, an office space and storage facility with the presence of 2 instructors to coach the students. Among the coached students, 22 boys have played at the national and state level championships. At present, 600 boys and 400 girls from the schools to which RDT supplies hockey equipment, take part in Hockey tournament.

RDT extends financial and material support to the District Hockey Association to organise State, South Zone and National tournaments such as the annual District Rural Hockey League championship competitions both for girls and boys, and open league championships. Spain-based Hockey club members support RDT’s sports staff in technical coaching. Every year, 15 to 20 club team members visit RDT’s Hockey Academy to extend support in coaching. Mr. Andrew Enrich, a Spanish international hockey player has also voluntarily supported the project to promote hockey in the region every 6 months.

Football Academy

RDT’s ASV runs a Football programme across the district of Ananthapuram through 23 centres. Programmes were initiated for boys in 2004 and for girls in 2008. The football academy at Ananthapuram Sports Village (ASV) was established in 2010 and currently, ASV supports a total of 53 boys playing at Under-15, Under-17 and Under-20 age groups. Infrastructure includes a full-sized, natural grass football field, 400m dirt running-track and a club house with 4 dressing rooms, 3 office spaces and a storage facility.

About 3000 boys and 1800 girls from RDT-adopted schools play football, with coaching support from Spanish clubs during their summer vacations, when local clubs are formed. Every year, the organisation conducts football league championship competitions for boys and girls at Mandal and district levels. RDT also extends material as well as financial support to District Football Association to organise State, South Zone and National level football tournaments.

Archery

The RDT Sports Centre practice for Archery was initially launched on Sports day at Ananthapuram Sports Village on 31 August 2014 with 72 students registering on the same day. A separate ground was started at ASV where a 3-week summer coaching camp in archery was conducted in May 2015. 20 non-residential players attended the summer camp and were initially trained. Chenchu tribals are natural archers, having used bows and arrows to hunt in the forest all their lives. So 9 Chenchu players also attended the summer camp.

Judo

RDT’s ASV runs a Judo programme across the district of Ananthapuram through 38 centres. The programmes were initiated in 2005 for both, boys and girls. The Judo academy at Ananthapuram Sports Village (ASV) was established on 30 May 2015 as a Judo Federation of India training centre, with the aim of sending talented village-level Judo students to participate at national and international levels. The Judo committee provided inputs to build The RDT Judo Academy. ASV supports a total of 12 boys and 13 girls playing at Sub-Junior, Junior, Senior and Open age groups. Trained and experienced Judo Coaches from National Institute of Sports (NIS) carry out the trainings. International standard infrastructure includes a Judo hall with competition standard training mats, two separate changing rooms, an office space and storage facility.

Softball

RDT’s ASV started a non-residential coaching centre for softball in 2013, offering daily coaching to 80 boys and girls. It has also started a residential programme under which camps are periodically held and the athletes are provided with a full nutrition programme that includes all three daily meals as well as additional diet aligned to their training needs.

HIGHLIGHTS
 
STAFF SPEAK
 

“Games have always been played by children and there is considerable athletic talent in Ananthapuram. But RDT’s assistance has allowed sports education to take root in many schools in the district. This is the first stage from where new, talented sports persons are identified. The ASV forms the second rung of RDT’s sports education strategy, where talented children, irrespective of social class and caste can come and receive expert guidance. An active physical life in the early years and inculcation of team spirit and equal participation sets off children to success in not just sports, but in their lives also.”

Mr. M. Sreenivas Reddy,
Coach and Ex-State Player, ASV

SUCCESS STORY
 

B. Madhavi, now an established graduate from the Hockey Academy, hails from Kalyandurg, a regional centre for the hockey programme. Being the daughter of a farmer, she was never privileged to lead a normal life and play hockey at Kalyandurg because of social inconveniencies including gender discrimination, lack of proper guidance and no access to infrastructure. Her love for the sport roused instantly when she got introduced to the game by her maternal uncle.  She joined the Hockey Academy on 14 June 2012 and turned out to be one of the brightest athletes of her batch. She was always very athletic and enjoyed playing hockey.

Madhavi could always find time at some point of the day to hone her skills, though she faced a lot of parental pressure to not participate in the sport. But with the support of RDT, she decided to join the ASV academy after convincing her parents of its holistic development programme. She was selected to represent Andhra Pradesh in the Junior National Championship and at the same time, managed to achieve an A grade in her Senior Secondary Examinations. After graduating from the hockey academy, she got herself enrolled in a reputed college in Andhra Pradesh to pursue her Intermediate studies. Her continued development in hockey keeps moving forward, as she prepares herself to represent the Senior Indian Team. Through RDT’s hockey programme, B. Madhavi has fulfilled her childhood dream of representing the country.

“RDT’s help has been with me, not just in coaching and equipment, but also in helping me overcome my parents’ objections, which has freed me to play the game without fear or doubts.”

B. Madhavi

PARADIGM SHIFT
 

Caste lines in rural India are virtually insurmountable. Innate sporting talent ignores these man-made barriers and an inclusive sports education makes these age-old prejudices irrelevant.

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