Hockey: Women team to protest wearing black band

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Hockey: Women team to protest wearing black band
New Delhi, Jan 21: Just when everything seemed to be fine in Indian Hockey, the women's team has now raise a protest against non payment, days after the men's hockey team had fought for their battle for incentives with Hockey India.

Women hockey team, which is currently in Bhopal has decided to wear a black arm band at their camps as a mark of protest.

Despite their wholehearted support to the men's team in their battle for payment, they were told that there is no money to pay their dues.

“Even during the men"s strike, we supported them but did not join them. Hockey India had promised us that both teams will be considered at par and there will be no discrimination in terms of rewards, but that has not happened. Now we are being told that there is no money for the women"s team," senior striker Mamta Kharab said.

The team now wants to know why inspite of their outstanding performance they are being discriminated.

"We are only seeking an answer as to why we are being discriminated against. The day Hockey India satisfactorily explains to us why the men"s and women"s teams are treated differently, we will remove the arm-bands," captain Surinder Kaur said in a newspaper report.

Irked by the authorities' indifference, Kharab in media report said that they are now approaching the public for help.

"We are tired of begging to Hockey India for help which is why we are appealing to the people of India. Men's and women's hockey is the same, they should be treated the same. Women's team should not be treated like a step-child," Kharab said.

Some of the players have also opened a joint account at Syndicate Bank to help their team mates.

"Four of us — Mamta Kharab, Dipika Murthy, Subhadra Pradhan and myself — have opened a joint account, from which we will give money for girls who need it. Recently, we helped pay for the operation of the (team mate) Rajni Bala's father," Surinder said.

However, India's interim President Vidya Stokes clarified they have not been approached by the team, adding that they were doing everything possible to improve team's condition.

"Why don't they talk to me straightaway? I would have told them that we have already done what we needed to do. I have already sent letters to the ministry, then why should they grumble about it," said Stokes.

Despite facing several hurdles, like visa hassles, the women's team had quite an eventful year 2009.

The team won the Champions Challenge II and also qualified for World Cup.

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