Qualifying for Olympics a big challenge: Pargat

June 1st, 2011 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) Former hockey captain Pargat Singh, who heads the Hockey India (HI) committee to look for a foreign expert for the Indian team, said qualifying for the Olympics will be a “big challenge”.

Pargat as chairman of coaching and development committee had screened applicants for a foreign coach in January, but Harendra Singh, who was deputy to Spaniard Jose Brasa, was handed the reins.

Under Harendra, India finished a poor sixth in the Azlan Shah Cup. With the Olympic qualifiers scheduled in February, HI has began the search for a foreign expert to guide the team.

Pargat said HI and the sports ministry are not doing enough for the game.

“HI has not moved an inch on the proposals that I gave 6-7 months ago when I joined them. We did not have a meeting with sports ministry on those issues. Nobody is prepared to take any responsibility. We are heading nowhere. The system is in total chaos.

“In the current set-up, it is highly unlikely that India will qualify for the Olympics. I am not very optimistic. All I can say is that it will be a big challenge for the team,” Pargat told reporters.

Asked about the search of a coach, Pargat said: “We are back to square one. Now we are again searching for a foreign expert. That time I had spoken to foreign coaches. We have to see whether they are available now. It is difficult to find a foreign coach in 15 days but I will give my best.”

“Since our defence is weak, we were looking for someone like German Paul Lissek. I have to speak to him again and others as well.”

Pargat also did not rule out speaking to Brasa who he says produced a “consistent” result. “It is not in our mind. The team performed consistently under Brasa. But if the situations demands, there is no harm in speaking to him.”

Pargat said there is lot of confusion among the players because of two federations –HI and Indian Hockey Federation. “There are today two leagues for hockey. Players do not know what to do.”

He requested the government to think of a special National Games Code and lay emphasis on the development of the sport. “A country like India needs at least 500 astro turfs in the next five years.

“Hockey should be accorded a special status like National Emblem, National Bird, National Anthem and National Flag. There should be a debate in Parliament.”

Pargat demanded a ‘100 days action plan’ to set the ball rolling or else “I will go on a hunger strike on Aug 29 and would ask all hockey lovers to join me”.

“We need vision, leadership, money and infrastructure. There should be no room for petty politics in sports. We need a united face of hockey,” he said.

“We have not developed any coaching structure. I would request former players to support the campaign to save hockey.”

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