AMRITSAR: Undoubtedly, the country is celebrating Team India’s men’s hockey silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games despite losing 0-7 to Australia, but the team could have won gold or given an appropriate response to Australians if players had an international standard infrastructure to practice at home.
Stating that the vice-captain of the team Harman Preet Singh belongs to the village of Timmowal, near Jandiala Guru, Gurjant Singh hails from the village of Khalaira, near Tangra, Shamsher Singh belongs to a historical and frontier village of Attari, while Dilpreet Singh and Jugraj Singh both belong to Butala village, near Baba Bakala Sahib, all in Amritsar district, Kulwant Singh Ankhi, Patron, Amritsar Vikas Manch is of the opinion that it is a matter of pride that five boys from Amritsar are part of of an Indian hockey team but at the same time, he regretted that they had not been equipped with international standard equipment or infrastructure to practice.
“The whole country, especially the people of Amritsar, are proud of these award-winning players, but we, the members of Amritsar Vikas Manch, are of the opinion that these players could have performed better if they had been provided with modern facilities and equipment of international standards,” Ankhi said.
Stating that it was unfortunate for the Indian men’s hockey team to lose the game to the Australians, Maharaja Vice President Ranjit Singh Hockey Academy Dr. Avtar Singh estimated that the Academy annually adopts 30 players who received the best of facilities. However, he said there should be at least one astroturf in every district so players can practice there. Practicing on astroturf improves a player’s skills and talent, he said, adding that in general, the majority of aspiring hockey players train barefoot on the ground.
He said the Academy has produced hockey Olympians including Ramandeep, Dilpreet and Shamsher.
Ankhi said it was a concern that Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar has had the artificial turf hockey pitch since 2008, but according to experts, the artificial turf needs to be replaced with the new one after 8-9 years. As a result, he said the artificial turf had expired and should be replaced with a new one of better quality.
Avtar estimated that a new astroturf costs around Rs 1.25 crore, but the government could consider buying used ones sold by Holland for around Rs 25 lakh.