New Delhi:Concerned with the sagging status of Indian hockey in the country, former Olympians and stalwarts of the game today assembled to debate the pressing issues needed to revive hockey to its past glory.
While some blamed the administration for its loopholes, others lambasted the government for its lack of policies for governing the game. However, one thing that was common was the disappointment which was written right on their face.
"We did not give enough respect to the players, we did not make them heroes. We could have encashed the 1998 Asiad success. We need to invest money and promote the game in a proper way. We have potential but there is problem in the system," coach of Indian women team M K Kaushik said.
"We have a professional league but nobody gives it the importance that it deserves. It could have been made at the level of Indian Premier League but we could not do it.
"There is no calendar, no schedule of hockey in India and even if at times it is made, it is never implemented. We need to look at all these reasons and sort them out. We need to unite and support the selection committee, instead of involving in blame game," he added.
Agreed former Olympian Commander Nandi Singh. "We need someone to patronise the game. There should be incentives and enough money in the game and that will only happen when we start winning more games at the international level," Nandi said.
The two-time gold medallist, Nandi also lashed out at the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), saying it was the job of the association to make the people attached to the game accountable.
"It is the responsibility of the IOA to make the federation accountable and responsible if they are not working properly," he said.
Ad-hoc selection committee member Zafar Iqbal said that hockey post-Beijing Olympics has undergone a tremendous upheaval as there has been a huge surge in the standard of the game at the world level.
"After watching the competition at Beijing Olympics, we have realised that the standard of hockey has gone very high.
In terms of skills, strategy and stamina, it's not the same as it was few years back. New rules have also come up and so its important to improve our skills. Presently, we have the dearth of skilled players," Iqbal said.
The former captain said that the game needed to be revived by improving it's standard at the grassroot level.
"Hockey should be revived at the district level and club level. Until this revival happens, it is going to be very difficult to boost the sagging status of hockey in the country," he said.
"India need to work on skill development and create a bench strength by working at the grassroot level."