Gill refuses to take knock for hockey setback

March 12th, 2008 - 11:43 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) president Kanwar Pal Singh Gill refused to take the blame for India’s failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games. In an interview to NDTV India channel, Gill, in fact, recounted the medals India won since he took over as IHF president 14 years ago.

“No other sport in the country has won as many titles as hockey has won in all age-group tournaments in Asia,” said Gill, defending his federation’s road map.

In a tirade against the media, both print and electronic, Gill said the people were being misled by a deliberate negative propaganda.

“Why no newspaper or channel has bothered to highlight the achievements of the Indian hockey teams at the Asian level? India have won ten titles in the region since I took over in 1994.”

Gill has also hinted that India had been at the receiving end of the international body that in turn is reflected in some of the horrendous umpiring decisions against India.

“No-one has noticed the fact that the Indian team that played in the Olympic qualifiers in Chile had 14 players who would have played in the Olympics for the first time, had India qualified. You cannot straightaway jump into international arena and make a mark without first establishing yourselves at the Asian level.”

Gill also said it was not enough for the federation alone to work towards the development of the game, it has to be a concerted national effort since everyone claims it to be a national sport.

“It has to be a combined effort of the federation, the Sports Authority of India and government agencies, and unless everyone puts their best foot forward, the standard of hockey cannot improve.”

Gill lamented the lack of basic infrastructure like synthetic turns. “Unless we have enough turfs to play right from the junior level, the game cannot look up.”

Asked how long will he stay at the helm of hockey affairs, Gill said: “Let us see what happens in the World Cup and 2010 Commonwealth Games.”

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