(Photo: © FIH / Brazilian Hockey Federation)

191 junior athletes were mentored by six junior coaches as well as three international athletes at the FIH Youth Challenge in Brazil last month.

The Brazilian international players were on hand to offer their tips to the budding stars of the future at the “Age Fit” events which took place at various locations throughout the country over the weekend of 14th and 15th May. 

Junior Athletes aged from seven to 16 took part in the challenge, with many of the youngsters coming from poor communities. The aim of the event was to teach the fundamental skills of the game and show the parents of the players the benefits that the sport can bring to the children. A number of players who attended the event also participated in the Festival of Hockey, a 7 a-side tournament which took place in Diodorus on 22nd May. 

The Age Fit event was organized by Chris Leonardo Dutel (Regional Coordinator - Rio de Janeiro), Augusto Barradas (Regional Coordinator – São Paulo), Danielle Faria (Regional Coordinator – Curitiba), Eduardo Martins Júnior (Regional Coordinator - Santa Catarina) and Daniel Finco (Regional Coordinator - Rio Grande do Sul).

The weekend was hugely successful and enjoyed by everyone who attended. The event received significant coverage from local television channels, newspapers and websites, with many photographers also being present.

Following the great success of the Age Fit weekend, there are now plans to organise further festivals in partnership with local federations. There is also an effort to create resource material in Portuguese which will enable teachers and coaches to develop hockey skills amongst the children. 

Hockey will of course be one of the major sports being played at the 2016 Olympics that take place in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian Hockey Federation is working hard to continue to raise the awareness of the game within their nation in the build up to the Games in 2016.