An emotional N. Mukesh Kumar threatened to go on indefinite fast along with former and current national players if there are any efforts to dismantle the existing hockey venue at Gymkhana Grounds.
The triple Olympian was at Gymkhana Ground, where as a 12-year-old boy, he had learnt the basics from SAAP hockey coach Doraiswamy, to take the lead in the ‘Save Hockey’ campaign initiative by former player Surender Singh.
“We were told that a skating rink proposal is in the offing. We will not let that happen,” Mukesh asserted.
Since IHF has no ‘official status’ as the international body and FIH, recognises Hockey India, the first move should to form a united Hockey Andhra Pradesh State unit with players having a greater say.
“Politics made me keep away from the sport. But, with hockey reaching a new low, I decided to join you all," Mukesh said amidst applause.
“Many officials are surviving by pitting us against each other for their own benefit, so we should remain united,” he cautioned. Former national players Jude Lazarus and Narsing Rao suggested that first efforts should be made to ensure the two warring groups in the Hyderabad Hockey Association (HHA) call it a truce and ensure the court cases are withdrawn.
Call for more events
“It is sad that not even a single tournament can be hosted now because disgruntled officials are getting a court stay order. We will have to be very aggressive to revive hockey,” they bemoaned.
Ex-national players — Gyan Chand, Narsing and Chandrakumar, called for organising more events even if meant pooling in money to host them.
It was decided to call for another meeting of all the senior players of Hyderabad next week to chart out an action programme to give a facelift to the sport.