India rallies behind Dhanraj Pillay

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:06 IST

Former players, journalists and even politicians have joined hands to fight for Dhanraj Pillay's reinstatement in the hockey team.

New Delhi:

For the first time in the history of any Indian sport, former players, journalists and even politicians have joined hands to fight for Dhanraj Pillay's reinstatement in the hockey team for the Athens Olympics. Miffed at the treatment meted out to star forward Dhanraj Pillay, members of the media and former players sat in protest at the National Stadium today demanding his immediate reinstatement. In an unprecedented move Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi also joined the growing voice of support for Pillay, urging the authorities to consider including the hockey player in the team for the Athens Olympics. "I told him we have got a very good young side. But there should be some experienced players in it who have taken part in the Asian Games and Olympics. And Dhnanraj Pillay is now a legend of our times and he should be definitely be given an opportunity," said Kalmadi. Describing Dhanraj Pillay as the Sachin Tendulkar of Indian hockey, former cricketer Bishen Singh Bedi also made a fervent appeal to the IHF. "There should be accountability especially in hockey, because we still hope to win a Gold medal in hockey at the Olympics. And the fact that it is being handled so poorly is sad," said Bedi. The IHF had hinted at health reasons for dropping Dhanraj which former players feel is just an unfair excuse. "Just give him an opportunity, and we are sure he will prove himself. And Dhanraj himself has said that if he doesn't, he will quit," said former hockey player Merwin Fernandes. Over the past couple of years, Indian hockey has scaled new heights and Dhanraj Pillay played a crucial role. But with controversies like this one persisting in the sport, there seems to be little hope left for the future of hockey.

Topics : Hockey
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