Hockey India is not as big as BCCI when it comes to sponsorship funding, player contracts, grass root infrastructure and training. However, things look positive for the Indian Hockey team for their triple major in 2018. The Sports Ministry will provide complete funding for next year’s events.
Lack of funds, improper training facilities, inadequate supply of nutrition and diet and world class coaching facilities have derailed India’s sports growth. If we take a look at some of India’s most celebrated athletes, most of them came from a humble background. The support only came when they won some major national or international tournaments to get funded by the government authorities.
However, things look bright for Hockey India as they will be completely funded by the Sports Ministry for upcoming international events in 2018.
Christmas comes early for Hockey India
The Indian hockey team is on a high after winning the bronze medal at the recently concluded Hockey World League. Accolades for our boys are pouring in from every strata of the society. But, the most generous thing happened when Union Sports Minister met the team after their medal winning feat.
At a press conference organized to felicitate Hockey India team, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore announced that the team would get “complete funding.” The funds allocated will be for all the major national and international hockey events that fall in 2018.
India’s Sports Ministry will provide funding to Hockey India for Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup Preparation. All of these sporting events will fall in 2018.
Finally India has a Sports Minister who understands the difficulty of Hockey India
After India’s bronze medal winning feat over Germany in the Hockey World League (HWL) Final, sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore announced that his ministry will provide all the required funds to Hockey India as they prepare for a triple Major next year.
The triple major he was referring to includes Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup.
Speaking to reporters he said, “From here on, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup are all Olympic preparatory tournaments besides being major competitions. The ministry will give complete funding to Hockey India in terms of whatever they need.”
The Sports Minister also congratulated Hockey India and the young Indian team for retaining the bronze medal in the HWL Final.
“In the past few months, our hockey team’s performance has been good. In this HWL also, the comeback has been good. Indian team is the youngest in terms of average age, which helps build endurance, speed and bench strength,” the Olympic silver medallist said.
The Sports Minister further said that “2018 is the year of sports in India.”
His statement doesn’t come as a shocker, as many Indian athletes who are in their prime form will participate in major international events in 2018.
- Starting with the 2018 Winter Olympics Shiva Keshvan is our medal hope in the Luge category.
- 2018 will witness the second biggest sport competition in the world, the 2018 CWG, Australia. The CWG will a warm up for our shooters, archers, track & field athletes, boxers, wrestlers, weightlifters and badminton players to polish their game before the 2020 mega event.
- The 2018 Jakarta Asian Games will provide all the all the athletes the last and final chance to up their game before the final hurdle of 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
- 2018 will witness India host the Hockey World Cup in New Delhi. Our boys are hot favourite to win the cup.
- The Indian women’s team will also fight it out in the Women Hockey World Cup in London, England.
- Sania Mirza, Somdev Devvarman, Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri will grind it out at the Four Grand Slams, including the CWG and Asian games.
- Our young Shuttlers, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, Jwala Gutta, Aswini Ponnappa and Sai Praneeth will be in action at CWG and Asian Games along with various Superseries in their respective categories.
‘Complete Funding’ and ‘Khelo India’ a Blessing in disguise for Hockey India and Individual Athletes
Rathore echoed that the Central Government will do everything possible in its capacity to support the athletes and raise the bar of sports in the country.
“All the schemes until now the focus was on infrastructure funding. It’s the easiest thing to do. But how do you bring players to practice in those stadiums. That funding was missing. Khelo India programme is funding those soft sponsorships,” he said.
“Every year we will fund 1000 players, give them Rs 5 lakh for the next 8 years and keep adding 1000 every year.”
He also said that India is among the top five countries in the world where there are incentives, job reservations, and meritorious pensions for deserving athletes.
Things are now looking positive for our field hockey players as awareness created by the sports loving Indian fraternity finally managed to get those funds.
However, previously there have been many instances where other sport disciplines athletes and teams suffered to due to lack of funding.
Crowdfunding saved the day for India’s National Ice Hockey Team
When you mention hockey in India, people only think about field hockey. But, when you mention ‘ice hockey’, most individuals are not aware that it is played in India as well. Moreover, we have a team representing India at the international level.
The current Indian ice hockey team has six members from the Indian Army, four of whom are from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police; the rest are mostly college students from Ladakh.
Ice hockey is the most popular game in Leh. The response from the public for such games is so tremendous that, many times it would be difficult for fans to get a glimpse of the action.
Ice hockey was first introduced in India by the British in the hill town of Shimla, nearly a century ago. The revival of the sport here can be traced back to 1975 when the Ladakh Scouts unit of the Indian Army started playing it with wooden sticks and flattened stones used as pucks.
Since then, the ice hockey became popular in parts of the country that get snowfall, such as Shimla, Uttarakhand, Ladakh and other higher reaches of Kashmir.
Ice Hockey was registered as a national sport in India in 2002. The number of registered players in the country has gone up from 300 at that time to 2000 at present.
But a look beneath the surface reveals the sorry state of the game as well as its players.
To begin with, there are no rinks in the country where the national team can practice properly.
The Uttarakhand Government constructed an international size rink in Dehradun. But from 2012 it lays in a non-playing condition. The only practice that they do get is during the winter months.
The rink in Gurgaon where the team practices is about a third the size of an international rink.
Perpetually short of cash and with a scarcity of sponsors, players often have to buy their own equipment, and it isn’t cheap.
After a Twitter campaign went viral, the team was able to crowdfund their events.
Business Tycoon Anand Mahindra was the first one to come forward and pledge a cheque of Rs. 5 lakh for our boys.
Other generous souls who stepped forward to help the beleaguered team include South India Shelters (2 lakh), a real estate development company based in Chennai. Also, Royal Valtrans Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based hospitality services company gave the team Rs 7 lakh.
The only sportsperson to support the cause has been cricketing icon Gautam Gambhir, who contributed Rs 4 lakh.
In just a few days, the team managed to raise Rs 12 lakh, the bare minimum required to ensure participation in the upcoming tournament.
The Apathy shown to our Para Athletes due to Lack of Funds
The 15th National Paralympics Meet, held at Ghaziabad near Delhi in 2015, was a nightmare for the 600 para athletes. They complained that the wheelchair athletes were unable to use the ramp. The toilets were dirty and without water. The rooms were cramped and dirty.
Sports meet was held at the Janhit Sports Academy in Matiala Village of Ghaziabad. Construction work was incomplete in the buildings in which the athletes were housed.
The wheelchair-athletes got the worst treatment. They were unable to use the steep and unstable ramps. Player could not access the most basic facilities, such as toilet or bathroom.
KreedOn Opinion : ‘Funds in sports are equally important as the training of the athletes’
Team KreedOn through our thought provoking sport stories will time and again bring up funding issues. We will help athletes to get the deserved funding and fame they need.
Teams and individuals work hard, put blood and sweat in making the country proud at international platforms. Many times they are abandoned by the government.
Due to lack of funds and facilities, inferior quality training equipment and not much support from the sporting federations, the country is lagging behind in non-cricketing sports.
Whenever the athletes asked for the government’s help, they were let down.
KreedOn opines that with new Government policies in place and a sport minister whose an Olympic medal winner, things shall look positive for our young nation.