Bollywood to blend with hockey for a new flavour

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Bhopal, June 10 (UNI) Bollywood stars, cheer leaders, entertainment and glamour are set to be blended with the country's national game to showcase hockey in a new palatable flavour, hockey veterans said here today.

Former goalkeeper Mir Ranjan Negi and former Indian captain Dhanraj Pillay told a press conference here that they would urge their Bollywood celebrity friends to come forward and boost the game through their presence.

'Hockey Show Match' would be played between Indian Olympian Star and Madhya Pradesh Olympian Star at local T T Nagar Stadium this evening to revive the glory of hockey in this city of lakes, known as the country's hockey nursery.

The duo along with several hockey veterans, including Padmashri Ajit Pal Singh, Mukesh Kumar and Dilip Tirkey, Arjun awardees Michel Kindo, Ashok Dhyanchand, Zafar Iqbal, Jagbir Singh, Olympians Aslam Sher Khan, Charles Cornelious, Mehboob Khan and Madhya Pradesh Star players Jalaluddin Rizvi, Sameer Dad and Gafoor, arrived here for the match.

''Entertainment is a key factor to catch the audience' attention.

We had to meet the people's need. They want glamour in sports and we will provide them,'' said Mr Negi, adding that ''Chake De'' girls were very keen for Bhopal's show match but due to some unavoidable circumstances they could not turn up.

Madhya Pradesh Sports Director Sanjay Choudhary said that besides this show match, a workshop would also be held soon to teach the aspirants how to turn a penalty into a goal.

Charging media with not giving deserved exposure to the sport, Cornelious said media gave unnecessary focus even to trivial things of cricket.

''We had to forget all the disputes and stand together to nurture this old nursery of hockey'', urged Pillay to Mr Choudhary, adding that hockey should be revived to that extent that from a elite to a tongewla should again talk about hockey. Besides this, he also asked the officials to set up astro turf at Aishbagh Stadium here.

Ajit Pal Singh rued that media sometimes exaggerated about the gloomy side of the game and it enhances our failures but did not highlight our victories. He also urged his fellow players not to be jealous with cricket as they had improved a lot and carved their own niche.

Talking on Pillay's return to the Indian national team, Ajit Pal Singh said that it all depended on fitness and age.

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