Former captain blames lack of facilities for hockey in India

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Tiruchirapalli, Jul 31 (UNI) Former Olympian and captain of the Indian hockey team Vasudevan Baskaran criticised poor infrastructure facilities in the country as a major reason for the downfall of Indian hockey.

Speaking at a function here yesterday, he said we need to blame the facilities available rather than the team. The funds allotted for sports in the 'Union Budget' should be increased considerably, he added.

Mr Baskaran said in such a big country like India, we have got only a handful of astro-turf grounds. It is well-nigh impossible to regain the lost ground under the circumstances, he added.

When asked, facilities were not available in yesteryear too, but despite the shortcomings, India managed to win gold medals at Asian Games and Olymics, he said ''We are eight time gold medallists in the hockey at the Olympics. It is shocking that we couldn't even make it to Beijing this time around. Whatever happened has happened and we need to move on. The rich talent available in the rural parts of the country should be exposed to the latest trend''.

He said there is no point in comparing the present situation with the past, since hockey is no more played on gravel surfaces. Times have changed and technology had started playing a major role in every sport, he added.

Mr Baskaran said youngsters have to be trained on astro-turfs from the beginning, and for that, we need adequate facilities in every district.

The former hockey-wizard wished all success to the Indian Contingent for Beijing Olympics and expressed hope that the sportspersons would give their best at the quadrennial event and do the nation proud.

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