As Chandigarh hosts its first international hockey tournament,fans say Chak de!

When Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal declared the 10-day long Punjab Gold Cup as “open” on Saturday,it marked a historic moment as the city was finally hosting its first International hockey tournament.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh | Published: February 1, 2009 12:46:47 am

When Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal declared the 10-day long Punjab Gold Cup as “open” on Saturday,it marked a historic moment as the city was finally hosting its first International hockey tournament.

The atmosphere at the Sector-42 stadium was nothing short of electrifying with dhol beats and bhangra performances marking the opening ceremony.

“It is a special feeling to see top-rated hockey players in action in Chandigarh. Even though Germany and Holland are fielding young teams,it is a treat to watch players like Taeke Taekema and Max Muller besides the Indian players,” said Kanwaljeet Singh,a junior hockey player from Jalandhar.

After the postponement of the Premier Hockey League,the fans finally got a chance to cheer for the hosts.

“A lot of Indian players belong to the region. Rajpal,Deepak,Baljeet and Sandeep have played here most of the time. I had come to watch the PHL also and hope this tournament becomes an annual feature,” said Ankit Sharma,a bank employee.

For nearly 1,500 school children,however,the fun part was subdued due to inadequate arrangements.

“There was no arrangement of food and water for us. We had to shell out money from our pockets to buy food and water. Last time also when we came to watch the Test Match,we were treated in the same manner,” said a student Rajkanwal.

Sidelights
* Just before the first match,former Indian captain Sardara Singh,who was ruled out for the Gold Cup due to an injury,was seen urging the security personnel to allow him to enter the stadium.
* Even after the start of the first match between India and New Zealand,the score board was not functioning. It was only after half time that the scorecard started working.
* With inadequate arrangements,the match could not be telecasted on Saturday. DD Sports will telecast the matches from Sunday.
* The fans cheered vociferously for local boy Deepal Thakur when he returned to the field after being hit on the face by a ball.

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