Balbir lays stress on lifting hockey at school level

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Chandigarh, Jul 19 (UNI) Triple Olympic hockey gold medallist, Balbir Singh (senior) expressed shock that base of sports in schools had been eroded and 90 per cent of the teams participating in the National Championship come without any adequate preparations.

In a Meet the Press at Chandigarh Press Club here today, former Punjab Sports Director, Balbir Singh said "I am still optimistic that there was no dearth of talent in Punjab. The need is to tap and groom them to regain Indian hockey supremacy in the world." Praising the efforts of Punjab Sports Director and Olympian Pargat Singh, the former ace Indian forward said "the department is doing well to unearth talent at the grass root level and was providing them scientific training to mould them into top notchers.

The week-end Punjab Hockey Leagues for boys and girls in various age groups is the right direction." The steps taken by the Punjab Government would check the deteriorating hockey standard, he felt.

Balbir Singh, who represented India in the 1948 London Olympics, 1952 Helsinki Olympics and 1956 Melbourne Olympics, blamed the Indian hockey management for not properly organising things which led to declining of interest in the national game of hockey.

He spoke in details about his career and his achievements.

Manager and chief coach of 11 medal winning national teams, including gold in the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Balbir Singh disclosed that he started his career as a goalkeeper. He also played as a defender before ultimately playing at the centre-forward possition.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently released his book, "The Golden Yardstick-- training manual" in New Delhi. His autobiography "The Golden Hat-Trick" as told to the then Sports Editor of The Tribune, Samuel Bannerjee, was released in 1977.

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