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|October 23, 2001||
Bonanza for junior hockey teamOnkar Singh
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal hijacked the agenda of Sports Minister Uma Bharti and Indian Hockey Federation president K P S Gill at a crowded press conference in Delhi on Tuesday afternoon.
"I came to know that the boys of the Indian hockey team are meeting media persons in Hotel Intercontinental and I decided to join the function. I had come to meet Uma Bharti as she told me that she would be here; so I thought I could do two things at the same time," Badal told bemused media persons, who were discussing the Indian junior team's World Cup triumph with the players and the IHF officials.
"I have come here to invite the entire team to Punjab so that we can hold a felicitation function there and honour them. The state government will give Rs one lakh [100,000] each to all the players and officials of the junior Indian hockey team. In addition, the players from Punjab would be given a plot each near Chandigarh in Mohali, and three key players -- Gagan Ajit Singh, Tejbir Singh and Kanwalpreet Singh, who presently hold the rank of assistant sub-inspectors in the Punjab Police would be elevated to the rank of sub-inspectors with immediate effect. After a brief period they would be made inspectors," Badal told rediff.com after the press conference.
"The team has done us proud and we should honour them in return for what they have achieved for India after the 1975 World Cup victory," he added.
Uma Bharti also announced a cash prize of Rs 100,000 to each member of the team.
"I am overwhemled by the victory of the Indian team. I would have gone to receive the team at the airport myself but because of non-confirmation of the timings of its arrival I could not do the same. The whole country feels proud of these youngsters," she said.
She also promised to take up the matter raised by the IHF president K P S Gill about the non-telecast of the India-Argentina final by Doordarshan.
"I will take up the matter with Ms Sushma Swaraj, minister for information and broadcasting," she added.
Speaking on behalf of the Indian hockey Federation, Gill said the team has given a wonderful performance and announced that all the 18 members of the junior team would be joining the senior camp shortly.
"The team had landed in Austrlia in adverse weather conditions. They worked hard and overcame these difficulties and went on to win the junior World Cup. They beat the best teams of the tournament during the course of the tournament.
"The German team coach told us that the Indian team was the best team in the tournament and were deserving winners of the junior World Cup hockey tournament," Gill said.
When a newsmen asked why former junior international Rajiv Mishra, who was instrumental in India finishing second in the last World Cup in Milton Keynes in 1997, has not been given financial assistance to overcome his injuries, Gill said he was trying to get in touch with the player but the player has been talking more to the media than to the IHF.
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