Shilaroo Hockey Stadium (Netaji Subhash High Altitude Training Centre) is a multi-purpose stadium in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh. The stadium was constructed and maintained by Sports Authority of India and located in Shilaroo which is 52 km from Shimla. The stadium is located at an altitude of 8,000 feet was the dream project of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, approved in 1986, and foundation stone of which was laid in Feb ’1987.
The stadium is one of the most modern facilities for hockey like synthetic turf etc. The stadium was opened in 2010 by Sports Minister of India MS Gill.
The Sports Authority of India or SAI has continued and maintained this tradition with the establishment of a huge sports complex. The sports complex provides the facilities for training the current national players for international competitions at Shilharoo near Shimla. The sports complex is known as Netaji Subhash High Altitude Training Centre.
This institute is spread over 195 bighas of the land at the altitude of 8000 feet in Shilharoo near Shimla. Under the authority of Sports Authority of India, it provides training for different sports including athletics, hockey, basketball; skating, boxing etc. The main idea is to help the players to acclimatize with high altitude conditions.
Defining the High Altitude Conditions
Most of the people are hard pressed to define the high altitude condition. Normally, the quantity of oxygen which is necessary for our life is thick on the sea level. As the altitude increases, the air gets thin, consequently the quantity of the oxygen in the air. The selection of this place was done keeping in view the similarity between the climatic conditions of Shilaroo and most the venues in foreign countries which are a host to several international meets.
As most of the indian players belong to the plains the environment in the high hills is condusive for building stamina and endurance of the players. The high altitude facilitates quick recovery of the players after heavy training sessions in the morning and evening. The initial plan to set up a high altitude training centre was formulated in 1984 by the SAI. The SAI had formulated a three phase plan to set up a high altitude training centre at three different places in Himachal – Summerhill, Shimla for indoor games; Shilaroo for outdoor games; and Manali for winter spots.
The Idea behind High Altitude Training
After the repeated failures of national players in different games, SAI or Sports Authority of India conducted a thorough study of causes of repeated defeats and its resolution. One of the causes was cited as the high altitude of the sports tournaments in other countries. To provide resolution, SAI decided to open a multi-sports complex in Himalayan ranges for the athletes High altitude training is defined as training conducted at the location which is located over 8000 ft above sea level.
It also helps the players to acclimatize with the high altitude over a period of time. There are many dedicated athletes who live and train in the higher altitudes all year. They only come down at the lower altitudes for competing in different tournaments and games. As, their body is acclimatized to the high altitudes and the thin air, they have an edge on the other competitors.