In the light of the Angat Singh episode, the Indian Hockey Federation will henceforth ensure that women coaches accompany women’s teams for all major events
In an apparent bid to steer clear of any controversy regarding indifferent treatment of women players in future, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) might well set a trend for the other bodies to follow – ensure that only women coaches accompany teams for all major events.
“Definitely, we will make it mandatory. And if some association for some reason is not able to implement it, we will make the organisers send a woman representative to accompany the team,” said Tejdeep Kaur Menon, Additional Director-General of Police and vice-president of the Hyderabad Hockey Association. She is actively involved in the conduct of the on-going National (under-20) women’s championship at Gachibowli.
The decision is the off-shoot of the ugly episode of the molestation of a Jammu and Kashmir player by coach Angat Singh, who has been remanded in custody till the end of this month. Interestingly, Ms. Menon brushed aside suggestions that the move to pursue the case on the basis of the complaints of the Jammu and Kashmir camp might well tarnish their own image as organisers of the Nationals here. “The message has to go out that we mean business, and we cannot entertain any non-sense,” she said.
The 1996 Atlanta Olympics goalkeeper Edwards Alloysius, who is here for the Nationals, believes that it is time all women’s teams had women support staff. “These are very sensitive issues, and there is always scope for some of the men coaches to be victimised for different reasons,” he argued. He has a reason as he was in the dock during the National Women’s Team Camp in Lucknow in 2008 after a player lodged a complaint against him.
A couple of players from Haryana, who did not want to be named, also felt that it was a better option to have women coaches for the team members could share their problems. “There are always bound to be inhibitions with men coaches even though some of them are more reputed and qualified to don that role,” says an Uttar Pradesh player.
International referee Asha Thota reminds that normally IHF insists that women officiate all matches on the field. “This is what we look for. Only when there is a shortage in numbers some men officials are engaged,” she says even while avoiding to debate the Angat Singh episode.