While the Indian hockey team slug it out on the field,things are warming up off-field as well. The Delhi High Court has asked the IOA-constituted ad-hoc committee to submit concrete plans to conduct elections to the suspended IHF latest by March 2,and the anti-KPS Gill faction,led by the Bengal Hockey Association,has decided to hold a show of strength on Wednesday.
In an apparent attempt to be the first off the blocks,the BHA has decided to impress upon the Indian Olympic Association the need to hold elections at the earliest. The two-day meeting is likely to see 28 of the 39 state associations being represented and pledge their support to BHA president JB Roy as the IHF president. It will also see the associations submit a memorandum to the IOA and the sports minister,demanding early elections. Roy is the deputy managing director of the Sahara Group.
Karnataka State Hockey Association secretary K Krishnamurthy said the purpose of the meeting was not to force any confrontation with the IOA. Ad-hoc committee convenor Mohammad Aslam Khan has already said that the IOA was committed to holding elections soon,but there were logistical problems,mainly to do with the FIHs insistence that there should be only one representative body for the sport in the country.
I would rather say that once the elections to the IHF are held,the problem of merging the mens and womens bodies can be sorted out. Till then,we can have an IOA representative at the FIH, Krishnamurthy said,adding that this would be one of the proposals given to the IOA.
On the actual agenda for the meeting,Krishnamurthy said it was high time the control of the game was handed back to the state associations,in compliance with court orders. We have nothing against the IOA but one year is a long time for any ad-hoc body, he said.
Whats wrong if a person,with an interest in reviving hockey and the financial power to do so,decides to contest IHF elections? Sahara has been sponsoring Indian hockey for a long time and if they are keen to get into active functioning of the sport,it should be welcomed, an official said,admitting that no one even remotely supportive of KPS Gill had been invited. We will also make sure that the calendar drawn up by the ad-hoc committee will not be messed around with even after the elections, he added.
India register win
Meanwhile,India outplayed New Zealand 2-1 in the second Test of the four-match hockey series at the National Stadium in Wellington on Sunday. India now lead the series 1-0.
The home side took lead with Simon Child sounding the board in the fourth minute. Stung by the jolt,Tushar Khandker restored parity for India in the 30th minute,while skipper Sandeep Singh produced the match-winner with a penalty corner conversion in the 55th minute to give his side a 1-0 lead in the series.
India,who came up with a vastly improved performance as compared to Saturdays 1-1 draw,could have won by a bigger margin but for the numerous chances missed by the forwards. India coach Harendra Singh said his wards played the best match of the tour so far but was also worried about poor finishing. The scoreline should have been much bigger, he said.