The under-15 players selected for the three hockey academies of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) are now all set to be put through training to prepare them for competitions at different levels.
SGPC has since distributed 100 hockey sticks free of cost to the players. Besides, 12 goalkeeper kits were also given at the academies located in Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala.
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar told media here on Thursday that of the 1,200 players who reported for trials in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and a few other places, 93 were selected for the three academies. They would receive free education, including books, apart from board and lodgings.
Those selected for the academies would be 'complete' Sikhs and not cut hair short or trim beards. Makkar said that the SGPC was concentrating on promotion of sports so as wean away the youth of Punjab from drugs and other bad habits.
A beginning had been made with 'kabaddi', followed by promotion of national sport hockey. The SGPC hockey teams would participate in district, state and even national level tournaments.
The SGPC chief said that instructions had also been sent to all schools and colleges run by the Sikh body to concentrate on sports, particularly hockey.
A couple of former Olympians, including former Indian captain Ajitpal Singh and Brig Harcharan Singh (retd) have already announced their willingness to train the players at the SGPC academies.