Indian hockey is beset with age-old problems that need to be mended at the earliest (“Crisis of Indian hockey”, Editorial, Jan. 13). The drop in international rankings and the dismal form of the players are deplorable. We need a totally new team with professional managers from outside the system and a players’ representative. Sponsors would definitely come forward if there is a proper structure and can see tangible benefits.
The grim situation of Indian hockey can be attributed to the callous attitude of the government and too much politicisation. That the Indian Olympic Association has failed to form a national body as directed by the International Hockey Federation within the stipulated time speaks volumes about the state of affairs. With the World Cup round the corner, the officials and the team must clear all administrative issues. Winning the World Cup will give confidence to sponsors and boost interest in the game.
On the one hand, all demands made by Indian cricketers are met while, on the other, the demands by hockey players go unheard. This is well supported by the meagre facilities offered to hockey players. We should remember that hockey is our national game which has brought us laurels.
The sorry state of affairs relating to the management of hockey has prolonged for quite some time and has done incalculable harm to the game. It appears that all concerned are oblivious to the fact that hockey is our national game. Recapturing the past glory is of paramount importance. A system that is responsive to the concerns of players and committed to raising the standards of the game should soon be put in place.
P. Prasand Thampy,
The fact that players of the national hockey team had to opt for a boycott to make their voices heard highlights the abysmal state of Indian hockey. Whenever players, doctors or defence personnel raise their legitimate demands, they are often asked to put their duty first. This is a serious mishandling of genuine grievances. If the hockey management is short of funds, as it claims, to meet the players’ demands, it should serve as a wake-up call to the government.
The lackadaisical approach towards hockey in recent times has prevented it from reaching the pinnacles of success it scaled earlier. The players cannot be blamed if they could not qualify for the 2008 Olympiad or win the Asia Cup. Their efforts, in fact, should be applauded as they played many a tournament without proper incentives. Would this scenario be the same had the sport been cricket? Time to refresh our memory — hockey is our national game.
From time to time, The Hindu has raised the issue of hockey’s dismal condition in India. Every major news pertaining to hockey has drawn the attention of the newspaper. Such consistent coverage of a sport which hardly gets any attention is commendable. If the media start promoting hockey as they do cricket, I think the sport can come back into the limelight.
I have been a keen follower of hockey and I am saddened by what I see. I pity the players who had to protest in public to be heard. I sincerely hope they are compensated adequately and their fortunes followed by the media. For the fortunes of hockey to change, the infrastructure needs to be improved. Our players do not get to play on an artificial turf till they are 18 or 19 whereas European players get earlier exposure to it. It is time the government took note of the pathetic infrastructure of the sport.