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Govt incentive godsend for lower age events (10/28/2015)
--K. Arumugam
Govt incentive godsend for lower age events

Hockey India is perhaps the only National Sports Federation in India that organizes National Championships for every age category for both gender every year over the years.

With suggestions coming in, Hockey India divided the nationals for good measure into two Divisions to make the competition competitive, pooling weak and beginner teams in Division B.

Bowing to another demand that schedules of Nationals are announced in short time leaving teams less time for preparation, HI has now announced the dates and venues 8 months in advance.

This has never happened before. Now the ball is in the teams’ courts to deliver quality.

While domestic hockey thus is in good environ, recent announcement from Sports Ministry adds advantage to sports in general hockey in particular.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, has yesterday announced a skew of measures that will a long way in improving the quality of our sports.

If one leaves out the measures concerning Olympic preparation and staff salaries, what strikes the knowledgeable is the enhancement of government grant for hosting Nationals, that too, increasing more for less age groups.

This is a welcome measure.

Government will grant Rs.5 lacs for hosting Senior Nationals, 7 lacs for Junior and 10 lacs for Sub-Junior nationals.

This is almost double fold increase.

That the amount is increasing against lesser age group is sensible.

Its not easy to organise for eg Sub-Junior Nationals.

More teams in less age group, resultant logistics, with almost no publicity (meaning no sponsorship), hosting Sub-Junior Nationals is almost a charity unless it is believed investment for future.

Then comes real problem local coaches have created: age fudging.

Determining age of players, and punishing the guilty for deterrent has assumed more significance than ever before.

For, age fudging has assumed gigantic proportion. It has to be stopped. Scientific age determination is bit costly. But it has to be undertaken in the overall interest of national hockey.

Government grant for Sub-Junior Nationals from mere Rs.2 lacs to 10 lacs, which is five times, is a god send. This fund can be utilized to control over age problem.

Randomly picked up players should be sent to globally accepted Tanner Whithouse (T3) tests.

Its almost a couple of percent of coaches and players who vitiate the atmosphere and they have to be caught. Good signs are already there

Hockey India has already asked its Tournament Director of ongoing Nehru Sub-Jr Cup to indicate suspects to the organizers who will send them for detailed medical reports. It is gathered that HI will bear the costs subsequently.

This is a welcome step.

Salient features of new proposals and grants

===The amount for senior, junior and sub-junior competitions enhanced to Rs 5 lakh, Rs 7 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively.
===Air travel for senior players and coaches for a distance beyond 500 kms. The junior players have been allowed air travel for a distance beyond 1200 kms.
===Earlier, air travel was not admissible and senior players were travelling by AC II tier and junior and sub-junior players were travelling by sleeper class for domestic competitions.
===Air travel has been allowed for coaching camps and competitions held in the North-East Region. Similarly, the athletes from the North-East Region will be allowed air travel from their residence/coaching camps to and from Kolkata."
===Medical insurance policy of Rs 5 lakh and personal accident policy of Rs 25 lakh for athletes.
===The salary of Chief Coach enhanced three times from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,50,000 per month. Higher salary will also be allowed in specific deserving cases. The salary of other coaches has also been enhanced from Rs 30, 000 to Rs 75, 000 per month.
===For international events held in India, the quantum of financial assistance enhanced from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh per tournament.
===For the promotion of "traditional tournaments", a new provision of assistance of up to Rs 5 lakh per event of such kind. An assistance of Rs. 25 lakh will also be available for holding prestigious tournaments in the country.
===The NSFs have been allowed to procure equipment upto Rs 10 lakh. Above that amount, the procurement will be done by Sports Authority of India (SAI).
===An amount of Rs 1500 per athlete per international participation (if camp is not held before competition) for undergoing evaluation from Sports Science and Medical Fitness.

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