New Delhi: A few weeks after NDTV 24/7 reported on the poor state of hockey players living out of a train bogey in Hyderabad, it seems little has changed for the players. The likes of Gagan Ajit Singh might be household names in India but often household chores are just what they can't get away from while playing. People would ascribe this to prejudice, partiality or discrimination. But call it what you will, one thing is evident that the Indian hockey players are certainly not treated at par with the cricketers. What else would explain the accommodation of members of the Indian hockey team in a cheap hotel in Gurgaon amidst filth and squalor? This is despite the fact that the Asian champions, not too long ago, were regarded as heroes after their wins at the Afro-Asian Cup. They even got sponsorship from the Sahara Group. But better times for Indian hockey are still a distant dream. "Hockey is a team game in which there are no perfect camera angles on just one person unlike cricket. But now those who follow hockey know us and if we win tournaments, I'm sure the fate of the game will change," says Gagan Ajit Singh, member of the Indian hockey team. The team is now in Hyderabad after three weeks of training in Gurgaon. They are gearing up for the three-Test series, against Olympic champions Holland, which begins in Hyderabad on February 5. But despite the shortcomings, the team was upbeat about their future games. "Ours is a young team and they are upbeat. We are sure of getting a medal in the Olympics," said Sampat Kumar, physical trainer of the Indian team. India, which finished last in the recent Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia, are looking at this Test series as an ideal preparation for the Olympic qualifiers to be held in Spain next month. But how are players expected to perform at their peak levels when living conditions are far from satisfying in their own country?
Topics : Hockey