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Hockey needs all round support (9/4/2014)
--K. Arumugam
A couple of months ago when the Senior Men’s World Cup team was given a ceremonial send off on a grand manner, for which the present dispensation, Hockey India, is known for, there was a great bonhomie between Sports Authority of India, top officials of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, with the national governing body of our national game.

Narinder Batra, the face of Hockey India, even said on mike – while introducing Jiji Thompson, Director General of SAI, and Sharan, Secretary, MYAS – paid rich tributes to the duo.

Said Batra: “The contribution of SAI in developing hockey is significant and that they need all praise’.

On their part, these two top officials too expressed total commitment to the development of the sport which needs all round support to maintain whatever status it is in.

Everything looked great and normal in June this year.

And it seems two months are big period in Indian hockey. There were murmurs and even feeble protest by HI in the issue of Indian hockey teams taking part in the Commonwealth Games, as shortage of funds cropped up from the part of patrons, SAI and MoYS.

All of a sudden things soured, and HI feels the top two bodies are short-shrifting hockey.

There are genuine complaints and concern that Junior hockey camps are not sanctioned, even cancelled – SAI provides infrastructure and support structure to selected trainees.

Things have drifted to such an extent that personal verbacity rent the air now, further vitiating the atmosphere.

Officials are public servants, supposed to serve the cause for which they are paid for without bringing in personal prejudices and preferences. HI on its part is a beneficiary of SAI and MoYS.

There is a need for restraint from everyone concerned, as what matters ultimately is hockey and its development.

Hockey not given Arjuna award is a sour point, so also SAI’s reluctant to sanction camps.

We know in India unwilling babudom can wreck havoc.

While they need to understand the kind of competitive task that lie before hockey in the forthcoming months, what is required at this point of time is not a scene of 'donor--receiver kind', but concerted effort from everyone to propel hockey to next level; a genuine duty of welfare state that India is.

Therefore, we plead restraint from everyone in the interest of hockey.

Hockey lovers expect junior men and women camp start as early as possible, as much time had already been lost.

Tailpiece: HI is seeking appointment with Prime Minister of the country to discuss the issue.

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