Pune: There is no dearth of talent or response from spectators in the Hockey. The government and other stakeholders just need to put in their part. This is a full time game and it needs investment and interest. If we get that, we can regain the glory of the national game of India. This is the confidence expressed by Manoj Bhore, General Secretary of Hockey Maharashtra.
Coming mid-way in the ongoing 5th Hockey India Senior Men’s National Championship at Balewadi in Pune, Bhore, who is the man behind the organizing this event, spoke on the success of the tournament and the heavy response it drew from spectators as well as selectors and those interested in the game of Hockey. As many as 48 teams are participating in the 22-day long tournament, ten more than the last event, and a team of 40 officials and volunteers is looking after them.
“This is the second time that we are organizing this tournament in the city. This time around, junior and senior level tournaments were held on the some venue. The juniors event concluded on Wednesday and seniors matches started from Thursday. Many dignitaries from the hockey world, including present national team coach Paul van Ass and former Cricket captain of South Africa Kepler Wessels made it to the games. We have left nothing to compromise and everything is top notch. Not only the players, even umpires are also international level. With the people associated with hockey, we are getting fabulous response from public as well. The spectators also got to enjoy top notch players,” he said.
The juniors leg of the championship, which took off from April 6, allowed much talent hunting and many of those players were shortlisted. Their skills will be honed to produce international players, he said.
Bhore noted that it was because of the tournament that many new additions were made to the Hockey turf here. “We built the stand here and also installed a new scoring system. Actually, we have a good infrastructure in place in the form of Balewadi sports complex. However, we need to enhance it. Our boys need encouragement,” he said.
On the point of improvements, Bhore said, “Hockey needs full time training. States like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have built 15 turfs. We lack those facilities. The sponsors, corporates and sports lovers should come forward to help the emerging players. Government should set up an academy to coach the budding players. These things require lot of resources. I have always maintained that provide us the resources and give us two-three years’ time and we will regain the glory of hockey. We are trying our best but we are failing short.”
On its part, Hockey India under the able leadership of its President Dr Narinder Batra has changed the outlook of Indian Hockey. Last month Hockey India gave Rs 2.5 Crore worth of awards to hockey players. This was one of its first kind in the history of hockey. Hockey India League has brought money in the game and players are getting money which they had never thought off.
Bhore said, “First we had Silver Medal in the Commonwealth Games, then Gold in the Asian Games and now bronze in the Azlan Shah Cup. The Indian team is striving forward to improve its performance in the 2016 Olympics at Rio as well.”
Bhore made a point of the local situation vis-a-vis Hockey. He said, “In Pune, Khadki once enjoyed the dominance in the Hockey arena. However, today there is not much development. The Chief Minister last year inaugurated a stadium but not much has happened there ever since. Not many officers who took interest in it came along. So we have a lot to do on that front also. The Shiv Chattrapati sports complex is one of the best in the country and should be put to maximum use. The stop gap Sports Commissioner Mr Om Prakash Bakoria was a man with a vision and we thought that the good days were here for sports but his transfer is a big loss for sports.,” he said.
On a positive note, he said, “The Krida Prabhodini run by the Government at Balewadi is on of the best things done by the Government. It should be manged professionally. Some students, if given all the support, will be medal winners and represent the country in the 2020 Olympics. Such more schools should be developed to nurture rural talent. In line with our slogan ‘Let us Revive the glory’, we will do our best.”
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