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Sunday, March 7, 2010

National sport brings national shame ....

IT COULD’NT get worse for Indian hockey. A game that symbolize the very spirit of the Indians, a game in which India could proudly say that they had in them to be the World Champions and a game in which the magical craft of the players was envied far and wide. But now times have changed. The last time India won Gold in the Olympics was in the Moscow Olympics in 1980 and since then it has been downhill from there. India was the champions of the Olympics having won it eight times but it is a new low, which India hasn’t even managed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Many people will have a strong view saying Cricket is to be blamed because of Cricket that Hockey has been neglected. But the reasoning here is flawed. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the Indian hockey Federation. Since KPS Gill and his men have taken over IHF, Indian hockey has gone from bad to worse. Big players have been dropped and coaches have been shuffled. Whenever India goes for a tournament it has new faces cropping up. Fifteen coaches in the past ten years and yet KPS Gill has continued to be at the top.

The symptoms had been visible in the past few years when players like Dhanraj Pillay were unceremoniously dropped from the Team, when India barely used to qualify for the finals of major tournaments. The Asia Cup win was one of the few moments that Indian Hockey celebrated in the past few years. Otherwise, it would have been a sepulchral atmosphere.

But the loss to Great Britain in the finals at Chile exposes the rot in the Indian Hockey federation. Amidst the politics, it is the national game that has suffered. As the vice president of IHF resigned, he revealed that IHF President KPS Gill and the secretary general K Jyothikumaran, don’t get in term with each other. In an effort to resuscitate the national game, Rich Charlesworth a Bradman like legend from Australia was roped in as technical director to make a difference to the Indian Hockey. But, he wasn’t even allowed to fly to Chile for the qualifiers, so was there any point in hiring such a high profile player?

It is a similar story, when the Indian hockey team returns from Chile, the coach will be sacked or he will resign, many players who might have performed well in the tournament might be dropped. The point is that the IHF has never been responsible enough to handle Indian Hockey and in their arrogance the National game go to the dogs. It is time KPS Gill instead of swapping players and coaches take the blame and resigned from the post letting people with fresh ideas come in.

Cricket too went through a similar debacle last year as the Indian team who had finished runners up n 2003 failed to go past the first round in the 2007 Cricket world Cup which was held in the West Indies. But the strength of the team was there for all to see as the players bounced back to win the 20-20 World Cup. The board, the media and the ex- players were always in support of the team even after the big loss. This is the kind of support that Indian hockey team needs. The Media is very biased to the game of hockey as it will go all out to report this loss to Great Britain but would have not done the same, had it qualified for the Olympics. Clearly, the Media has its own vested interests.

Chak De had become a National Anthem for the whole nation, but now it is more associated with Cricket than Hockey. Even Shahrukh Khan chose to buy out a Cricket team instead of investing in Hockey. Hockey needs to be encouraged right from the grass root levels else this game will die a slow death. After hitting rock bottom the only way left is going up gradually and hoping the Golden days of Hockey will be back again.
i think we need to spend money and glamorize d hockey...
as we have done with cricket

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