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2008: State FM talks of Sports GDP at Nehru Junior (11/15/2008)
--Subhash Joshi
“We have specified quantum allotment of resources for health and education sectors. These allotments have to be of globally agreed GDP levels to call ourselves a welfare state. On the same lines, why can’t we have specified percentage of resources alloted for Sports in proportion to GDP?”

Thus asked Haryana State Finance Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh on a rather mundane gathering as Junior Nehru Finals at Gurgaon on Friday. He was there to give away prizes.

undefined It is a good thinking from the part of a top politician. It is hoped the Senior FM, Central Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, listens to his counterpart in Haryana.

Claiming himself a hockey player, he said that he still fondly remembers a match between Sri Lanka and Punjab XI played in his hometown 40 years down the line. He recounted this while expressing his gratitude for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh team for taking part in the tournament.

“Hockey lost its prime due to various extraneous factors that came up in the 70s, now it is more of stamina and strength. What we need at this juncture is involvement of more people and more activities, and selecting talents at rural levels”, he added.

Appreciating Getambar Anand, MD of ATS Infrastructure Ltd, the power-wielder in the State government said, “Government cannot do all by itself to promote sports. It definitely needs private enterprises’ involvement. I am happy ATS has found its feet in this prestigious tournament. I definitely feel football in India improved after Tata group of companies stepped in and formed a Football Academy in the recent past”.

The Minister, on his part, announced a donation of Rs.2 lac (USD 4000) from his discretionary funds as his token of appreciation for the Nehru Hockey Tournament Society.

Meanwhile, Indian junior team is already in Gurgaon to participate in the Senior Nehru Tournament, which will start from today 15th Nov. undefined The tournament went off well, with both Jalandhar based teams winning their matches in the final and the hardline. The winners were given Rs. 64,000 purse. There was fairly a good crowd, but unevenly spread, lost in sight as the ground has stands only here and there. For the first time perhaps, the junior tournament was telecast live. And it certainly required special set up for power supply and other paraphernalia, which was provided by the Nehru Society. Also, it is the first tournament held under floodlights even since the Haryana government created the facility.

However, it was unfortunate the organizers could not keep date with their tradition. The Sr. Nehru Cup used to start dot on 14th, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. Except in 2005, when the illogical IHF stopped all domestic tournaments in order to prepare for the 2005 Champions Trophy, this tradition has been kept up even during war times.

undefined But this time Sr. Nehru Cup will start a day late. Kukoo Walia, Organizing Secretary, took pains to explain the logistics hurdles in hosting a match on the concluding day, besides two matches in the evening. He sounded reasonable. However, Walia is tipped to succeed Secretary of the Society, and is looking forward to improve the show in terms of financial augmentation and organization improvisation. However, tradition is also an important factor and should not be lost sight of. Whatever the problems, the Wimbledon starts on fixed date. Nehru Cup and its traditions are our proud moments in an otherwise haphazard administrative hockey set up in India. We hope the lapse is not allowed to recur in future at least.

Pic Captions
Finance Minister of Haryana, Birender Singh, handing over the runners up trophy to Orissa Team.
Tournament Sponsor Getambar, MD, ATS Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, in a happy frame
Two foreign teams in the fray, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, pose for posterity

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