Olympian Jiwa Mohan dribbles into unearthing talents

With grit, determination, and desire, former international Jiwa Mohan is fast building a reputation as the go-to person for those wanting to learn hockey.

His Jiwa Mohan Hockey Academy began in Penang in 2018 with only three students, but today, it has 300 players, nine coaches, and a second centre in Kuala Lumpur. He hopes to have 1,000 players by 2026.

The academy has become a hub for hockey enthusiasts, and Jiwa’s goal is to continue to grow the academy, produce top-notch players, and promote the sport to a wider audience.

Jiwa fielded a team in last year’s Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and said he plans to enter two sides this season. The next goal is to play in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

“The kids are still young, so the MHL is a few years away. For now, I plan to field two junior teams in the MJHL.

“Hockey is in my blood. I still play in the MHL, as I want to set an example for the kids,” said the 42-year-old, who plays for Nur Insafi Sporting.

“I want to show them that as long as you love the game, you can continue playing, no matter your age or gender.

“Sometimes, it is not about being competitive, but participating and helping to keep the league alive.”

Jiwa said his academy is self-funded by the players who pay monthly fees – the academy has several payment structures, according to players’ goals.

Parents also chip in for overseas trips. The Under-16 team travelled to Australia last year, while the Under-18 team played in Bangladesh.

This year, the academy plans to go to Australia, Germany, and India.

“There are those who just want to have fun, while others want more intensive training,” said Jiwa, an engineer with an Australian firm.

“So, the fee structure follows accordingly. The aim is to get as many youngsters interested in the sport.

“We have some sponsors who help with the jerseys and equipment, but we need more sponsors.”

Jiwa roped in his former teammate S. Kuhan and ex-national coaches Stephen van Huizen and Paul Lissek to help with the academy.

“All of us still care deeply for Malaysian hockey. We got so much joy out of it, and it made us who we are today,” said Jiwa, a father of three.

“It can be tiring running the academy, as training is usually at 7pm, three times a week – after school and office hours – but as I said earlier, our love for the sport is what drives us.

“The aim is to produce good players, who one day may don state, or national colours. But for now, it is about having fun.”

Jiwa’s academy is unique in its emphasis on teamwork and brotherhood. He said playing hockey is a great way to form friendships and learn valuable life lessons.

He challenges his kids to cooperate, support one another, and communicate clearly, on and off the field.

“I am happy to say that I have players from all the major races in the country. That was how it used to be, back when I started,” said Jiwa, who played in the 2000 Olympics and 2002 World Cup.

“Sports can unite the people. I remember the crowd used to cheer for the Malaysian team when I was playing.

“The fans did not look at colour or creed. To them, we were Malaysians giving our all for the country we love.

“That is the feeling we want to recreate at the academy.”

Those who want to know more about Jiwa’s academy can reach out to him at 016-448130.

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