Ex-hockey stars ask IHF to draw lesson from IWHF
Lucknow, Mar 26: Enthused by the silver medal winning success of the Indian Women hockey team at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, former captain and Olympian master-dribbler, Mohammad Shahid today asked the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) to draw lessons from the Indian Women Hockey Federation (IWHF).
Talking to UNI over phone from Varanasi, Shahid, who played with Women Hockey team coach M K Kaushik in the Indian team that won the Olympic hockey gold for the eighth and last time in Moscow 1980, said IHF boss K P S Gill, needs to draw a lesson from Vidya Stokes, the chief of IWHF.
''Though the IWHF works under the IHF only, Mr Gill needs to learn from Ms Stokes, how success can be produced on the global hockey arena, with minimum resources,'' Shahid added.
Shahid, presently, a Sports Officer with Diesel Locomotive Workshop (DLW)in Varanasi, further said while the IHF led by Mr Gill unceremoniously sacked coach M K Kaushik, despite the Indian men team, coached by him, winning the Asian Games gold in 1998 at Bangkok after a gap of 32 years, the IWHF used, to the hilt, his expertise in making the team a force to reckon with on the international stage.
Shahid said after the 1982 Asian Games gold, the women stick-wielders had plunged into oblivion but the arrival of Kaushik as the coach propelled them back to the forefront.
''He guided the team to an unforgettable maiden triumph at Commonwealth Games at Manchester in 2002, followed by similar success for the team at the inaugural Afro Asian Games 2003 in Hyderabad and Asia Cup in 2004,'' Shahid added.
The women team had lost its sting following the departure of senior players like Pritam Siwach but it was the wily coach Kaushik, who gelled both senior and junior players to success at the Asia Cup and Afro Asian Games and now in Melbourne, he added.
Another veteran of Indian hockey, Syed Ali, who played alongside Kaushik in the 1981 World Cup in Mumbai seconded Shahid's thought, saying IWHF has secured rich dividends by reposing faith in the diminutive Kaushik, who is perhaps the best right wing striker the country has ever produced. ''The IHF sacked Kaushik alongwith senior players like Dhanraj Pillay, despite Bangkok Asian Games gold, which paved the way for IWHF to ensure a bright future for its team under the same coach,'' he added.
The Indian women hockey team might have failed in title defence in Melbourne, but have certainly won the silver only after giving a a tough fight to the hosts and hot favourites Australia. After a dejected start in the Games, it seemed impossible that the eves will even be in the first five at Melbourne, Ali said, adding, that it was a seasoned coach in Kaushik, who defied all odds to guide the team to the silver medal.
''A top coach like Kaushik can deliver such results by striking a winning combination of experinced players like Halen Mary, Jyoti Sunita Kullu, Mamta Kharab, S Chanu and younger lot in Surindar Kaur, Jasjit Kaur, Rajwindar Kaur and Saba Anjum,'' said Ali, out who edged out Kaushik for a place in Indian Olympic sqaud for 1976 Games.
Presently working as an Assitant Manager with State Bank of India in Lucknow, Syed Ali said Kaushik has combined Asian hockey skills and Europen fitness enhancing methods with winning skills via a scientific approach.
''The silver medal winning performance of Indian eves is certainly the right investment for the team before the 2006 World Cup in Italy,'' Shahid added.
The two hockey veterans, however, disagreed on one count. While Syed Ali said Kaushik could be reconsidered as coach for the national men team, Shahid requested the IWHF mandarins not to repeat the 1998 mistake of IHF and continue with the coach till the next Olympic.
''IHF needs to continue with the same coach like the IWHF, for a long time instead of Mr Gill's favoured policy of fiddling with coaches and players off and on,'' he added.