M A I N   N E W S

Overhaul IHF, save hockey
Our Sports Reporter & UNI

New Delhi, December 20
India’s failure to finish among the medal bracket in the 15th Asian Games at Doha had its echoes on the streets of Delhi when former internationals and “hockey lovers” joined in a show of strength to seek the ouster of Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) president K.P.S Gill and secretary K. Jyothikumaran here today.

Dismayed at the running of the game, hockey stars of the yesteryears Haripal Kaushik, Cdr Nandi Singh, Raghubir Lal, Ashok Kumar, Zaffar Iqbal, Pargat Singh, Col Balbir Singh, S.S. Grewal and a host of local players took out a procession today carrying “Save Hockey’’ placards here.

The protestors, who marched down from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar in Connaught Place, sought the dissolution of the IHF and straightening of the hockey affairs in memorandums submitted to Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Mani Shankar Aiyar and Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi.

The protestors sought the appointment of an ad hoc committee to manage the affairs of the IHF till a new body was put in place as they felt that during the regime of Gill and Jyothikumaran, the Indian hockey team had hit its nadir, as the team under coach V. Bhaskaran had finished 11th in the last World Cup in Germany besides flopping at Doha.

The former internationals demanded an inquiry into the financial dealings of the IHF and for taking steps to ensure that the eight-time Olympic champions India qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. They said the financial affairs of the IHF were not above board and needed a thorough enquiry.

Former Indian captain Pargat Singh said the death-knell of the domestic hockey competitions had been virtually sounded though players emerge from such competitions to ensure a steady supply of talent for the federation to choose from.

“But the IHF has destroyed domestic competitions as now A-grade tournaments have been targeted after finishing off B and C Grande tournaments in the country”, Pargat noted. He said no way Indian hockey can flourish by throttling domestic competitions, though he admitted that the PHL (Premier Hockey League) was a noble concept. But he said the PHL lacked a soul as there was “no spirit behind in it” due to poor management of the tournament.



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