|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Support our hockey team: Bedi
August 26, 2003 20:04 IST
Firebrand former cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi threw his weight behind the beleaguered Indian hockey team on Tuesday, saying it is not the time to pull the team down.
"The hockey players do not just sweat it out on the field. They are shedding blood for the sake of their country," the former India left-arm spinner and captain said in his address to the All India Sports Congress at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi.
Bedi was speaking in the context of widespread criticism of the team which had a disappointing outing in the recent Champions Trophy.
"We have to back our hockey to the hilt. We have to do it now because if at all we are to win a medal at the Olympics in Athens next year, it will come from our hockey team," Bedi said, revealing the other side of him.
He said he was sympathetic to the hockey team as he knew there is a marginal difference between international sides.
"It is not like we have in cricket. International hockey is very very competitive."
Taking a dig at Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, Bedi said he had never heard about the IOA chief deciding to felicitate the hockey team though he does often hold parties for international delegates.
He also dismissed the inaugural Afro-Asian Games as a big waste of money.
"We are entertaining foreigners instead of creating facilities for the youth," he said.
Bedi said it hurts to see hockey players getting hardly anything in return for their exemplary efforts.
Coming to his first love, he said cricket bashing has become a national pastime.
"Everytime we crib that cricket is consuming all other sports. It is idiotic. Cricket has role models like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid; that is why it has such a massive following among the youth.
"Also if cricket is marketed properly other sports federations should not crib," he said.
Praising Board of Control for Cricket in India president Jagmohan Dalmiya, Bedi said, "He is a workaholic. He devotes 18 hours a day to the organisation. He is committed hugely to the Board and is getting financial returns."
Bedi also called upon former sportspersons to contribute their bit to the game while underlining the need to "involve oneself completely" in order to obtain positive results in the field of sports.