Mukesh Kumar's dream grounded

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Former India hockey captain Mukesh Kumar is running all over the place to get his hockey academy off ground.

Updated: May 18, 2007 16:39 IST
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Mukesh Kumar, the left-winger was the nemesis of many a hockey team's defence in his heyday. But after hanging his boots, Mukesh is running all over the place to get his hockey academy off ground.

Reason: though land for an academy was approved last year but its proximity to an airfield means Mukesh cannot install any floodlights.

Mukesh Kumar dreamt of building a world-class hockey academy in Hyderabad but the Hakimpet Air Force station did not let the former India captain to even build castles in the air.

Last year, Mukesh was allotted five acres of land near the defence establishment, which has now vetoed his proposal to erect 70 feet high floodlights at the astroturf facility.

"No lights are allowed near the Air Force runway. The height restriction is 14 feet. So I cannot even build hostel for the boys on my five acres of allotted land," said the former India hockey captain.

The setback comes at a time when hockey itself is not a priority sport for the sports ministry. Mukesh plans to coach 30 juniors and sub-juniors at his academy and says he is open to a stint with the Indian seniors as well.

"If you give me the Indian team, I will produce results within two years. I want to concentrate on their weaknesses.

"The age difference between me and the senior players is only 5 to 6 years. I played under ten coaches and I can use whatever I learnt and pass on that to the younger players," he added.

Mukesh is now hoping to be allotted land elsewhere and once that is done, he will go back to the drawing board. And this time, Mukesh wants to keep away from all flying objects. Ironical considering he is employed with national carrier, Indian Airlines!

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