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PANEL DISCUSSION: All About University Hockey (2/25/2001)
--K. Arumugam organised a panel discusion on college hockey in India. The excerpts of expert comments are given here.


Hockey was not much popular in colleges even in the heydays. However, more colleges had hockey teams compared to present. Cost of kits, non-availability of even grass grounds and lack of incentives contributed to the further downfall. It is also essentially to do with the overall decline of popularity of the sport in India.

Cricket takes the precedence among the students. Next priority game cannot be fixed as it varies from region to region, college to college. In CCS(Meerut) University, for an instance, wrestling, hockey and athletics comes second whereas in Rajsthan University wrestling, and boxing comes above hockey. As Chennai has no grounds except two perhaps, hockey is not a priority sport even though it is popular. Football is more popular among students than hockey. Not even one third of colleges that comes under Delhi University have hockey teams. Things are looking up as we have 10 or 12 teams at present, which was far more than what we had a few years ago. The case is nearly same as far as Punjab University is concerned too. Out of 60-70 colleges, hardly 10 have hockey teams. Here, only 4 colleges have good team. Many institutions do not have hockey coaches too.


There are main reasons why not many colleges represent so-called Combined University team. It is nearly a formality team as it does not represent true Indian talents. Many universities even do not know when the trial for the combined university team took place. More often than not, the communication from All India University does not reach the colleges in time. Somewhere, the short circuit occurs. This year CU team that took part in the 60th National Championship was virtually a North Zone one as there was no representation from other three Zones - East, West and South. AIU should not wait for the Nationals to be announced for selecting the team but as routine the team should be selected.

There should be some fund and genuine mechanism to take care of TA/DA requirement for students who wish to attend trials. So far , only those selected for the CU team gets the benefits. If TA/DA is made available for students willing to give trails, more students will take interest. No parent will allow their pocket to be drained for such things while they already bear a lot on account of equipment.

Academies like Air India draw huge representation from all over the country. Why then does the AIU fail is one issue the umbrella organisatin should look into. Press release, personal contact and letters in time to colleges can be resorted to bride the communication gap and attract more students for the trials. Quality will come from quantity only. Many university teams taking part in the Inter-University Championship are selected based on 20 or 22 probables.


What is there to motivate the students to take part in the University hockey? Even the prize money of the Inter-University goes to the university whereas players represent different colleges. As per existing guidelines, the winners purse of Rs.40,000 is given to University for obtaining equipment and they have to produce a certificate to this effect. It is often seen the practice is more flouted than followed. It is always possible winner price money of a particular discipline is spent on getting equipment for other. Even otherwise, the prize amount is meagre.

There should be something to motivate the students. At least the price money can directly be given to them and the coaches. As of now, students first option is Academy teams followed by State teams as he finds job opportunities in representing these promoters.


In general, there are no much competition available for a college student to be involved with the sports for a reasonable period of time. How many tournaments do we have? One zonal championship, one Inter-university for those who qualified from the Zonal, and one Champion College Cup which allows only top 8 teams of the Inter-University Championship. Nowadays the National Championships are also not conducted annually. Either should a student get some monetary reward or get popular by playing and winning many competitions. This is not happening in India as of now.

This is one of the reasons why different set of students figure in any given team of any college. If we are to groom students, and should he be available for a reasonable period of time to achieve this objective, more deserving students should be absorbed into the professional courses like Engineering. This will ensure continuity of his sporting career.

As of now, the Inter-University Championships are conducted on a meagre budget, prov

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