Valeria Pardo, the leader of the hockey project in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, recounts that at the beginning of the year, a meeting was held with the new director of sports in Santa Cruz, Dr. Carlos Fernando Dabdoub Roda, Director of the Departmental Sports Service (SDD) of Santa Cruz. Various topics were discussed during this meeting, including the designation of a space for hockey. Hockey is one of the few associations with legal status that meets all the requirements set by the secretary to be part of the Annual Operating Plan (POA). As a result, an agreement was reached between institutions to allocate one of the synthetic fields available at the Abraham Telchi Sports Village for hockey use. Valeria, in coordination with Architect Samir Nacif, presented the project to adapt the field to the official dimensions of an 11-a-side hockey field.
The Sports Village in Santa Cruz houses the High-Performance Sports Center (CAR). The village covers a vast area of 154 hectares and includes residential complexes for athletes and facilities for multiple sports.
Currently, work is being carried out on the field, where the official lines will be replaced with a different synthetic color, without removing the lines already present for the 11-a-side soccer field. Additionally, the existing goalposts will be remodeled, and a structure will be built along the end line to reinforce the perimeter netting surrounding the field.
This marks the first step toward having their own field. Valeria, who has been promoting hockey since the arrival of the PAHF (Pan American Hockey Federation), sees the project finally taking shape. The next step will be replacing the carpet with one exclusively designed for hockey.
This field will be officially inaugurated in early September to coincide with Santa Cruz's anniversary month. An official ceremony will take place in the presence of authorities and club representatives from the Association. This will provide an official space for the sport and can be used for the development of sports schools, club training, gatherings, and competitions in the 11-a-side, 7-a-side, and 5-a-side formats.
Furthermore, the SDD has purchased sports equipment to support the development of a sports school, which will also be handed over to the Santa Cruz Association. This includes over 40 sticks, 30 balls, and hockey masks. This initiative is part of a sports development project presented by the Association for the holistic development of sport and the commitment of the member clubs to strengthen the sport in the region. There will also be a training program for coaches to promote the sport and a calendar of activities, including competitions, clinics, and sports schools on the new field until the end of the year.
This effort has been driven by Valeria Pardo, who has been a national team player, coach, and sports leader, with the moral support of like-minded individuals involved in sports in Santa Cruz and PAHF.
There is still a long way to go before achieving a certified hockey field, but this significant step towards having their own space is already bearing fruit. The PAHF has also scheduled a series of courses once the construction is completed.