Hockey will remain top priority: Gill

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sports Minister MS Gill says hockey is the &quot;spiritual game&quot; of India and it will remain the top priority sport for the government.

Updated: May 24, 2008 09:09 IST
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New Delhi:

Giving a pat on the Azlan Shah silver medal winning team, Sports Minister MS Gill on Tuesday said hockey was the "spiritual game" of India and it will remain the top priority sport for the government.

Gill said he would provide every possible support to lift the game from the pit of darkness.

"I had told earlier that hockey will remain the priority game for the country. It's India's spiritual game. It will remain India's No.1 game and it's my duty to support hockey," he told reporters at the Sports Ministry here after meeting some of the members of the Indian team that won the silver medal in Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

The Sports Minister said he would focus on developing infrastructure for hockey.

"Since the game is played on astro-turf, we need to lay as many of those as possible. I will do my best to make that happen. If there are 10-15 turfs in the country, we will try to make it at least double." Gill expressed confidence that the Indian Olympic Association-appointed ad-hoc committee would handle the affairs of hockey with competence.

"I believe IOA will manage it properly and the selection committee will do the job to the best of their ability to give the best side without discriminating among players," he said.

Coach AK Bansal, manager Pargat Singh, players like Sandeep Singh, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Innocent Kullu, Mandip Antil and Diwakar Ram were present on the occasion.

Besides, IOA President Suresh Kalmadi and ad-hoc selection committee members Ajit Pal Singh and Zafar Iqbal were also present.

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