Sports: Aslam Sher to attend Kolam meeting for reviving IHF
Punjab felicitates Olympic heroes
After the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup fiasco, Indian hockey is heading for difficult times ahead. While Hockey India (HI) in consultation with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) is still to decide about replacements for Chief Coach, Graham Reid, and his team of trainers for the coming international commitments, former Union Minister and Olympian Aslam Sher Khan has confirmed his presence at a February 25 meeting at Kolam in Kerala where discussions to revive Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) will be held.
With a little more than a month to go before India plays host to a mini triangular FIH Pro League event at Rourkela, featuring new world cup champions Germany and Australia, the home team is still clueless about its new chief coach and other trainers.
Several members of Team India that finished a joint ninth in the just concluded World Cup were in Chandigarh on Tuesday where they along with other members of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist team were felicitated by the Punjab Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer.
Those felicitated were team captain Harmanpreet Singh, former captain Manpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Akash deep Singh, Hardik Singh, Varun Kumar, Shamsher Singh, Krishna Pathak, Sukhjit Singh, Rupinderpal Singh, Dilpreet Singh, and Simranjeet Singh.
Harmanpreet Singh assured the minister that in the coming competitions, they all would make every possible effort to bring honour to the country with their improved performance. The players presented a hockey stick and a T-shirt carrying the autographs of all members of the Indian team.
The Punjab Minister exhorted the players to continue to work hard and not feel discouraged at the outcome of the just concluded World Cup. “Winning and losing are part of the game,” he said, promising all out help to promote hockey in the State. He also held discussions with the players on strengthening infrastructure besides starting a State Hockey league.
Punjab has fallen back in sports in general and hockey in particular. Though it had sent 10 players to the World Cup but the feedline that had been serving Indian hockey for the past decade has been drying out fast.
These felicitations apart, players are still waiting to hear from Hockey India before their next training camp. As uncertainty continues, some of former players, including Olympians, have stepped up their campaign against the established group in Hockey India.
Spearheaded by Olympian Aslam Sher Khan, the poor finish of the home team has provided a lever to this group to bash both Hockey India and International Hockey Federation (FIH).
In a letter sent to like-minded hockey players, officials and fans, Aslam Sher Khan says that “the New Year brings with it a new challenge. The recently concluded Hockey World Cup in Odisha was a disappointment for millions of Indian Hockey supporters and fans including myself.
“If you recall, I had written to you in the past highlighting the need to work in a unified way to revive Indian Hockey and help it reclaim its lost honour. To do so will not be an easy task as it will require us to take on a very strong syndicate comprising the FIH, Odisha Government and the CEO of Hockey India, Ms Elena Norman.
“Billions of Rupees are being spent in the name of Indian Hockey by this nexus not with the intention for its betterment, but instead flagrant misappropriations of these funds are being carried out which is akin to a scam. The future of Hockey in our country is being robbed for the personal gains of a few.
“Therefore, the fight will be hard and long-drawn and we need to be resolute in ensuring that the honour & prestige of Indian Hockey, metaphorically speaking, doesn’t continue to be raped.
“As previously discussed at our meeting held in New Delhi on 29th Oct 2022, it was decided that we need to take our brainstorming sessions to the different States in order to understand the problems at the grassroots.
“Therefore, our colleagues from Kerala have taken the initiative and organised a meeting on Saturday, February 25, in Kollam, Kerala. The venue for the meeting will be Ramavarma Club, Trevally, Kollam, Kerala,,” the letter said.