New Delhi:National coach Harendra Singh on Thursday requested the authorities to make arrangements for frequent media interactions for the Indian hockey team, saying the forthcoming World Cup has come as a blessing for the players to get their share of fame.
Harendra's appeal came after the Sports Authority of India restricted media from attending the Indian team's practice sessions at the National Stadium here ahead of the February 28-March 13 World Cup on the pretext of security.
"I request the Sports Ministry, Hockey India and all parties concerned to allow the players and coaches to talk to the media atleast two-three times in a week," he told reporters here.
"It is a big opportunity for Indian hockey and the players to get the game back to limelight," he added.
The national coach said the team management does not have any problem with journalists covering the practice sessions as long as it does not have a bearing on their preparations for the mega-event.
"We don't have any problem with the media presence during training sessions provided they don't affect our practice. We never intended to train secretly but we won't like to share the team strategy with the media," Harendra said.
Since February 3, the 18-member Indian hockey team is busy practising at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium, the venue for the World Cup, away from media glare even though the ground was inaugurated in the last week of January by Sports Minister M S Gill amid huge presence of newsmen.
On the opening day of the team's practise here, a ruckus erupted outside the venue after a lensman, desperate to get a peek inside, was caught by police after he jumped the gates.
As if it was not enough, a handful of journalists sneaked in through unguarded gates while the rest fumed in frustration at the entrance.
Hockey India, however, washed it's hands off the issue, saying the stadium was under Sports Authority of India's control and it had no say in this regard.
Asked why reporters were being kept at bay from attending practice sessions even though the officials complain about media adopting a step-motherly attitude towards hockey compared to cricket, HI media advisor Anupam Ghulati said, "This is something which SAI and the government can answer.
"We can't comment anything on this as we were told that the decision was taken on security reasons."
"I think the decision was taken keeping in view the security issues and concerns expressed by various participating nations," he added.
However, after encountering the fury of media persons, the HI official later said that they will talk to SAI to sort out the problem soon.