On Monday as the Indian hockey teams drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh,a former Chandigarh Football and Hockey Academy trainee,came to meet his teammates at the Sector 42 Sports Stadium,the youngster was asked by one of his friends about not being chosen by the Chandigarh Administration for the Rs 1 lakh cash award given to players on August 29,the National Sports Day. Singh had no answer and just smiled at the question. The lanky forward,who emerged as one of Indias leading scorers along with V Raghunath and Mandeep Singh with six goals in the recently held Asia Cup in Ipoh,Malaysia,had applied for the award along with Indian hockey team mid-fielder and former CFHA trainee Dharamveer Singh before going to the Asia Cup.
What can we say? We have been in the Indian hockey team for more than three years and this is the treatment which the UT Administration gives us. We had applied for the cash award on the basis of both of us being members of the silver-medal winning Indian team in the Asian Champions Trophy in 2012 and sent our forms to the Sports Department before going to Ipoh. It is disappointing to know that we were not chosen for the award, said Rupinder while talking to Chandigarh Newsline.
The UT Administration had awarded 11 sportspersons on August 29 and the list included seven archers,one golfer,one wrestler and two table tennis players. While the seven archers were part of the Indian contingent which won medals in the world games held in Germany,an event not recognised by the world archery body FITA ,the fact that Rupinder and Dharamveer were part of the Indian team which won silver in an FIH (Hockeys world governing body)-approved event made their case stronger. Both of us have played two nationals for Chandigarh and we fulfil that criteria too. We were told that there is a policy of taking part in a seven-country event. We fail to understand this logic as we play for the Indian senior hockey team and most of the events are three-nation or six-nation. Its heartbreaking to see players with less achievements as compared to us being given the award. We played for the academy for more than five years and also won medals for Chandigarh in various national events, said Dharamveer,who was also a member of the Indian team which won a silver medal in 2010 Commonwealth Games and also played in London Olympics.
Former Indian hockey goalkeeper Baljeet Singh Dhadwal,who was a member of the Asia Cup winning Indian team in 2007 and is a former CFHA trainee,believes that this will discourage upcoming young players from the city. Its a discouraging sign for youngsters. These youngsters have played for the country and hockey,being our national game and the awards being given in the name of Dhyan Chand ji,its ridiculous that these hockey players were ignored. Some of the FIH events are six-nation tournament and if the Indian team wins a medal in this tournament,the plicy means that Chandigarh Administration cannot even recognise that achievement, said Dhadwal.
J P S Sidhu,joint director,sports,however,maintained that the awards were given as per the policy. We formed a selection committee and the awards were given on the basis of the recommendations of this committee, he said.