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Olympians hurt at selection of 'ten best Sikhs' of hockey

By Staff
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Chandigarh, May 2 (UNI) A group of prominent Sikh hockey Olympians, today strongly criticised the organisers of the function recently held in New Delhi to felicitate the ''first ten Sikhs' of the Indian hockey.

These Olympians included Harmik Singh, Tarlochan Singh Bawa, Dharam Singh Junior, Harcharan Singh, Balbir Singh, Rajinder Singh Senior, Surinder Singh Sodhi, Baldev Singh, Baljit Singh Dhillon and Baljit Singh Saini.

''The objective of meeting here is to express the sentiments of the Olympic medallists of hockey who have at one time or the other brought laurels to the country during the Olympics, the World Cup and the Asian Games,'' Harmik Singh and Harcharan Singh said while addressing a joint press conference with the others.

Describing the function held in Delhi to adorn the ''First ten Sikhs'' of Indian hockey as, they said ''it (function) has brought a sense of regret and hurt because the entire process of carrying out such segregation and discrimination is not appreciable.'' Strongly condemning the move by a hockey website and the people behind the function, Harmik and Harcharan said ''there have been many occasions where hockey players of calibre have been honoured and felicitated and it has always been accepted. However, this particular move is like a cheap popularity tactics whereby some self-loving persons have failed to transcent their personal moves''.

''Hockey is a team game and it has always delivered a message of the team spirit and national integration. But here for the first time a feeling of individualism and categorisation seem to be underlying the entire move.'' They wondered that some organisers may tomorrow honour the Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Adivasi players. ''Ism has no place in a team game. I recalled that once the IHF wanted to send an all-Sikh Team abroad, the move was turned down by the Indian Government,'' recalled Dharam Singh Junior.

''What message are we giving though such segregation's, are we not hurting the sentiments of many who have contributed in a big way to the game'', they asked in one voice. Such functions will affect the common goals of reviving hockey, they added.

It may be recalled that The 'Best Ten Sikh' hockey players were honoured by the website. Those who were voted were Balbir Singh (Sr), Udham Singh, Harbinder Singh, Prithipal Singh, Ajitpal Singh, Dharam Singh (Sr), Balbir Singh (Railways), Surjit Singh, Pargat Singh, and Col Balbir Singh (Services).

UNI XC HS PG ND2102

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