Even as Indian cricketers, despite their snobbishness, continue to pocket crores, other sportspersons are bearing the brunt of sheer apathy from all quarters.
Recently, when Indian hockey team landed home after a victorious run in the Asian Champions Trophy in China, all they were offered were a paltry Rs 25,000 reward for each player. Hockey India Chief Narinder Batra, later told a news channel that this was all the organisation could afford with its limited resources. Perhaps humiliated, the players snubbed Hockey India and refused to take the cash award. The skipper, Rajpal Singh criticised the setup and said that not only this ‘pittance’ is disappointing for the players, but also it would discourage the younger lot from taking up this national game. Later, Sports Minister Ajay Maken, who has been lately in the eye of a storm for suggesting reforms in the BCCI, announced a revised award of Rs 1.75 lakh for each player. This only after the players went public with their disgruntlement.
The attitude of the Indian hockey bosses and the alibis of the government that it can’t do anything more than just acting as a mediator, shows the lack of will in furthering the prospects of sport which are no more a high-profit making enterprise like the multi-million rich cricket corporation , the BCCI. Even opportunities like the Common Wealth games were wasted for the sheer love of making money even as the general public of this country was told that this ‘golden opportunity’ will bring back the good old days for other sports.
The Indian Hockey Team has been in the middle of crisis for a very long time now. With politicians like Suresh Kalmadi, becoming sports administrators, the future of ‘non-lucrative’ sports like hockey appear to be grim in the country. India stands a good chance of losing the Olympic qualifiers scheduled early next year, if it fails to resolve the dispute between Hockey India and Indian Hockey Federation. The International Hockey Federation has made it clear to the Indian Olympics Association and the Union Sports Ministry that one unified description is a prerequisite if India wants to remain in the global hockey scene. Indeed, it is very serious situation and that too for a sport which had been India’s forte for a long time until cricket fever gripped the country and stripped all other sports of their glory.