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Dutta: Playing Top Hockey Teams Vital

More overseas exposure is needed in order for hockey to grow in Fiji. These were the sentiments shared by Leevan Dutta, who scored a tournament-best of 12 goals in the
30 Oct 2015 13:44
Dutta: Playing Top Hockey Teams Vital
Fiji Men’s Hockey rep, Leevan Dutta (left) with sister Tiara Dutta.

More overseas exposure is needed in order for hockey to grow in Fiji.
These were the sentiments shared by Leevan Dutta, who scored a tournament-best of 12 goals in the Oceania Cup in New Zealand last week.
The 23-year-old from Lautoka said while more could be done to develop hockey in the country, the teams’ outing in NZ helped them a lot, especially playing Australia for the second time.
“I think that’s always the goal; to continuously play top teams in order to improve. I think that’s the only way to get better,” Dutta said.
“There’s so much competition you can have locally, but when you play a team of a higher calibre, you get to judge where you are as a player and as a team.
“It was a good experience for the boys playing the number one team which is Australia and I think the boys did well.
“This is the second time we played Australia. The last time was 10 years ago in 2005 in Suva.
“The standard has picked up a lot in the past years, but I think more can be done, more development because there is always room for improvement.
“So development needs to be our main focus going into next year especially the women’s game.
“And bringing Kaji Hockey back so we can have more juniors into the squad.”
The former Veiuto Primary and Suva Grammar School student scored eight goals in their 20-0 thrashing of Samoa and four goals in their 11-1 bronze medal play-off against Samoa.
But credit has gone to the team as Dutta believes without his ‘brothers’ he would not have got that award.
“It takes a lot of training, but I really enjoy scoring goals and I think I received good support from the team,” he said.
“It’s always a team effort when we win individual awards. For the squad it was one of our main goal going into the game against Samoa to bring home the top goal scorer award, so I’m thankful to the team.”
Fiji is ranked 64th in the world and despite missing out on the opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil, Dutta said with more international games they could move up the rank.
“Getting more international games would be a big help in lifting the standard and getting that exposure that we need in order to grow.
“Funding is also a major part as hockey is expensive given that it is a minor sport in Fiji. Most of the boys are students, so it’s difficult to make training as well.” he said.
The major driving force behind his progress so far is his mother, Alison Southey, who captained the 2003 side that won gold medal in the South Pacific Games in Fiji. The team is like a family to him.
“My parents are really proud of my achievements,” Dutta said.
“She has been our biggest influence to me and my sister Tiara. Mum is pretty much our drive in hockey and always pushing us to do better and work harder.
“The team has been together for a long time that we are basically a family; so that helps as well. There is a good brotherhood and friendship among the team.
“So it’s always good to have a good team bonding because it helps when we play. It’s just nice to be part of a team that feels like family.”
Dutta started playing hockey at the age of five.
He made his debut for Fiji in 2008 when we was 16 and has since been an integral part of the national team.



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