Jalandhar, Mar 17 : Hockey sports kit manufacturers in Punjab claim that the failure of the men's hockey team to make it to the Olympics has adversely affected their already wilting business.
The hockey team's failure to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, for the first time in eight decades has left a negative impact not only on the fans and enthusiasts but also on the sports goods industry.
On March 9 India missed the bus to Beijing Olympics after losing to Britain in the qualifying round held in Chile.
The hockey kit manufacturers and traders in Jalandhar, the hub of sports goods industry in the country, are facing the adverse impact.
The sale of hockey sticks, balls, pads and shoes has hit the nadir causing much concern in the sports goods business.
"The defeat of the hockey team in the qualifying match for the Olympics will shift people's interest from playing the sport, the sale of hockey equipment's will also be badly affected," saidJyoti Sharma a sports goods trader.
Interestingly, there was a sharp increase of 15 per cent in the sale of hockey game goods last year after the release of Shahrukh Khan stared Bollywood film 'Chak De India' as it inspired many and created an unexpected popular fancy for hockey.
The future of the sports goods industry connected with hockey looks hazy and the makers of hockey sports kits are a worried lot.
"Now people will start taking interest in cricket, as the under-19 team and the senior team have won their matches. The interest will definitely shift from hockey to cricket," said Kapil Kohli, a shop owner who also provided branded hockey sticks used in the film 'Chak De India'.
Hockey, the country's national game once held a high position.
Hockey lovers and the sports authorities in India will have to resurrect the game soon and restore hockey's lost pride which would also help hockey sports goods industry from withering away.