The EHF is delighted to announce that whilst we will be launching the EHF Solidarity Grant system in 2021, the hockey players in Georgia will be the first to receive a much needed boost with sticks and balls coming directly from the EHF in the coming weeks!
Recently we spoke to Georgia’s Vice President, coach, player and umpire Tornike Tevdordze or Toko for short!
“In Georgia we are really trying to grow hockey, especially in the villages through the schools. The kids are loving being exposed to hockey and want more and more!”
“Unfortunately, apart from a pitch, the main barrier to us growing hockey is the lack of equipment (sticks and balls). The kids come and try out hockey and love the drills and fun with their friends, but when they have to wait in line just to use a stick, then it’s really hard to get them back again. We train them in groups of 10/15 in the schools and villages, the young boys and girls train together and then we separate them when they get older. Hockey is always free to our young players, as it would not be possible to charge parents for their kids to play. They train 2/3 times a week and we can see they are improving, but as I already mentioned not having enough equipment really is our main barrier.”
“We do receive some Government support, but mainly this is directed into training our coaches and tournaments, which of course the players really love! Whilst we don’t have typical ‘hockey clubs’ like in many countries in Europe, our teams are based in cities, so they take the name of the city. This means that players have a real identity with their team and it makes the Tournaments really competitive. We have great connections with our friends in Ukraine and this has really helped! We are focussing on Indoor Hockey and Hockey5s as this is our best way to ensure that we can grow and improve.”
“Another challenge that we have is that none of our Coaches are speaking English so when they travel to Europe, this is a big barrier and can lead to frustrations when they don’t understand what is going on. We know that it is something that we need to address internally, but this will also take some time.”
‘My Christmas list? Well, of course, a pitch would be first on the list, we do have land, but we know that it is a difficult one to resolve. But being more realistic, some sticks and balls would be fantastic.”
Following up with the EHF, we were delighted when the EHF was able to confirm that indeed it would start the EHF Solidarity Grant scheme a little early to grant at least one of Toko’s Christmas wishes! EHF President, Marijke Fleuren said “In 2021 we will formally launch a new EHF Solidarity Grand Scheme, funded by the EHF, to support our Member Associations in a strategic way, especially for requests for equipment. I’m delighted that we will be able to start a little early with the scheme as ensure that the players in Georgia will be able to enjoy their training all the more with a package of sticks and balls, which we are arranging to send as soon as possible to Toko. We will announce more details on this scheme in the New Year.”
On hearing the news, Toko was thrilled “Thank you very much on behalf of entire federation, new equipment will help us grow.”