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Olympians' bid to rescue Indian hockey
March 11, 2005 17:23 IST
Appalled by the plight of Indian hockey, former Olympians joined forces to find a solution to the country's pathetic performance at the world level.
India, arguably the best team in the 1960s and 70s, have not won any major tournament since the 1980 Moscow Olympics and their only World Cup triumph came 30 years back, in 1975.
With the next World Cup just a year from now, Olympians, including Ajit Pal Singh and Ashok Kumar, called for measures that could arrest the sliding fortunes of the national team.
"Today hockey is getting much more money and media attention than what it was years back. Still we have failed to achieve much. The achievements are far away from us," Ajit Pal, captain of the World Cup-winning team, told reporters in Delhi.
"We are the fifth-ranked team in the world and I must say we are not in a hopeless situation. What we need is think positive and find out where we are going wrong," he said.
Ajit Pal said India must not give astro-turf and rule changes as excuses for their failure to win a major tournament.
"These changes were made years back. We should cope up with them instead of making those as excuses for our performance."
Ashok Kumar, son of the legendary Dhyan Chand, said since India won their lone World Cup exactly 30 years back, on March 15, they have decided to host a seminar, titled "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow", on the same date this year.
The seminar would be addressed by members of the 1975 World Cup-winning team besides Olympians, internationals and Arjuna awardees, including Mohammad Shahid, Dhanraj Pillay, B P Govinda and Zafar Iqbal.
Ashok Kumar, chairman of the Federation of India Games, which will organise the seminar, said a detailed report on the proceedings would be sent to the Indian Hockey Federation, Indian Olympic Association and government for proper action.
"It's a small effort to take hockey to a level which was there 30-40 years back. Everyone knows where we stand today. The game needs a change," Ashok Kumar said.
"This will, hopefully, guide us forward and help in winning the next world Cup," he added.
Former international H J S Chimni said, "15th March 1975 was a red-lettered day for Indian hockey. I hope after the seminar we would be able to identify the problems and find a remedy. We want to make this day a red-lettered one as well."