Chandigarh, May 8 (UNI) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today declared his party's unstinted support to the new administrative dispensation for the rejuvenation of hockey and stated that the Punjab government had agreed to sponsor the preparation of the Indian hockey teams for international events.
Mr Badal declared that hockey was his personal agenda and said that he had already successfully persuaded the Punjab government to sponsor the preparation of the Indian hockey teams for all international outings for the next four years.
The last time the Punjab government had sponsored the preparation of the Indian hockey team was in 1975 when India went on to win the third World Cup at Kuala Lumpur..
Meanwhile, Mr Harcharna Bains, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister confirmed that the Punjab government was willing to sponsor the preparation of Indian hockey teams for international events. Mr Bains said that the Chief Minister had been 'deeply pained' at the manner in which the sport had suffered a decline in recent years and was willing to "contribute in every possible manner to help the revival of the country's premier sporting discipline." Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal extended his full support to the IOA-backed organisational restructuring of the hockey administrative setup.
The youthful MP from Faridkot said that the people at large and the hockey lovers in particular had been shocked by the shameful manner in which the country had suffered humiliation at the international level, failing for the first time event ot qualify for the Olympics. He said that the painful decision to dissolve the Indian Hockey Federation led by former Punjab Director General of Police K P S Gill was perhaps the last option.
"We intend to involve hockey players, including present and past stars, for reviving hockey as the national sport" , he added.
UNI HS JS1916