PM pitches in for hockey revival

June 3rd, 2008 - 12:09 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday expressed concern over the fall in standard of Indian hockey and hoped for a revival of the golden days of the sport. Singh, who was attending the presentation of book “Golden Yardstick: In Quest of Hockey Excellence” written by former hockey captain and Olympian Balbir Singh, urged the Sports Minister M S Gill to do his best to “write another glorious chapter” of Indian hockey.

“I sincerely hope and would urge our Sports Minister Gill Saheb to do all he can on behalf of Government to rewrite the history of hockey in the country, to write another glorious chapter… To have a first class hockey team, a team that should have the ambition to achieve the heights that were once achieved by Balbir and his fellow players,” Singh said.

Singh said that Indian hockey has produced inspiring leaders and captains and the country will have to recapture that old glory.

“Indian hockey has seen better days. It has produced inspiring players, inspiring coaches, inspiring captains. I sincerely hope that Gill Saheb, will recognize the importance of hockey as a national game.”

He recalled that in his school days, he was inspired by hockey and added that to the ordinary people of India, hockey and football have greater significance than cricket.

“I want to say that I am not a great fan of cricket. But it is not a great disrespect to the world of cricket. In my school, there was hockey and I do believe that to the ordinary people of our country games like hockey and football have far greater significance than the world of cricket.”

The Prime Minister said that players like Balbir Singh are the role models for the youngsters.

“These are the days of globalisation. People talk about the achievements of our businessmen. People talk about globalisation but who is more qualified to talk about globalisation than our sportsman - sportsman of the calibre of Sardar Balbir Singh. Soon after India became independent, in 1948 he led our team as a captain, brought a gold medal. Again in 1956, and again the World Cup in 1975. These are people who are the role models for our younger generation.”

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