There is something in common between peacock, tiger and hockey in India. They are our nation’s pride and image our national bird, national animal and national game, respectively.
Oops! Hockey isn’t considered our national game anymore! If not given immediate attention, it may become history, too.
As such India, once tigers of the game, is now struggling to qualify for coveted events like World Cup and Olympics.
Not surprisingly, the same fear reflects in Indian hockey team captain’s desperation and urgency to win the Asia Cup! On the eve of the Asia Cup hockey final against South Korea, India captain Sardar Singh expressed how important it is for Team India to win the title in Malaysia. The charismatic midfielder remarked:
“The Asia Cup can bring back belief among hockey lovers and motivate youngsters.”
How can we forget the time when India ruled the game? But the glorious past is past indeed. What is it that went wrong? From winning eight gold medals and a World Cup title to struggling to even qualify for these prestigious tournaments, India has seen a major downfall.
Isn’t it unfortunate and disturbing that the skipper of the once-Indian-national sport also fears that the sport may die a slow death? It hurts me even more as he said this on the day when sportspersons were rewarded for excellence at the Rashtrapati Bhavan part of Sports Day celebrations held every year in the memory of hockey legend Dhyan Chand.
Something has certainly gone horribly wrong!
If Singh’s words are closely followed, it says that this team has taken the onus upon themselves to rebuild and bring fans back to the hockey field.
A state like Jharkhand, though, one of the lesser developed ones of the country, has done a lot for the game and regularly produced international players. But, on the other hand, we have Gujarat, which has lost opportunities to take hockey to every home. Thanks to the lack of desire among hockey officials.
An attempt was made to bring back hockey aficionados through an IPL-type hockey league. But internal fight, Indian Hockey Federation or Hockey India saw hockey losing fans.
Moreover, an age-old problem of lack of astro turf, a basic necessity has already been debated on numerous occasions. In that scenario government should take some steps soon.
To start with, like we have tiger reserves, the authorities should build astro turfs across the country and establish nurseries of hockey.
Ironically, golf courses are mushrooming across Gujarat while hockey is yet to have its own astro turf for hockey.
Finally, as an Amdavadi, I pay tribute to Kishen Karve or Karve Mama, a migrant from Maharashtra, who unconditionally served the game at the Gujarat college hockey ground for more than four decades and produced a number of state-level players. After his demise, officials have taken very little care to hunt for someone who can carry forward his legacy.
Was written before the Asia Cup final