Another Olympic hockey tournament, and the same old story repeated once again.
After suffering the ignimony of not even qualifying for the 2008 edition of the Olympic Games, India’s ‘National sport’ (the writer has laughed his guts off!) has put forward its latest unwanted record of finishing dead last in the recent London Olympic games.
This debacle only shows the state of Hockey in India, the way it is managed (or mis-managed!).
India promised much when they qualified for the Olympics in style, thrashing France in the Olympic qualifier final.
But, the men’s hockey team (the Womens team did not even qualify!) soon got a reality check after their initial group game against the Netherlands (the only game in the entire tournament where they put up a semblance of a fight) and went down miserably to in their remaining matches (which included losses to supposedly ’minnows’ Belgium and South Africa).
Now, though the game in the country cannot fall down any further (A wooden spoon is bad enough!), it surely seems like the end of the road for Hockey in India.
Years of corruption and the failure on part of the hockey authortities to change with the times (now probably even the Fiji islands can beat India!) has left the game in tatters.
Lack of proper infrastructure plus an archaic system has led to Hockey in India in the dismal state it is now.
Though, it definitely is not impossible for hockey to rise in the country once more (which the writer fervently hopes for!), the necessary steps, which include ridding the game of the age old corrupt officials plus some smart marketing and privatisation, look like the only solution to at least start a so-called ‘Hockey revolution’ in India.
The hockey debacle aside, India did get its best ever showing at the London games (6 medals), which definitely shows the slow but steady rise of other sports in the country.
Blaming Cricket (which happens after every Olympic debacle!) is definitely not the solution for Indian hockey (which has still not taken a cue from how the BCCI used the 1983 World Cup win to turn Cricket into a money making machine in the country!).
Now, though Indian hockey has fallen to the depths of despair, the writer feels there is still a way out for the mess which the sport is in currently.
And, first step to get out of this mess would be to change the way the sport is run in the country. Also, it would not be bad either if Sharukh Khan comes up with another gem like ‘Chak De’, which can just be the start of a new ‘Hockey Revolution’ in India!