It’s time for women’s hockey team to protest

Last Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 19:13

Zeenews Bureau

Bhopal: Barely a week after the
strike by the men`s team was resolved, another revolt is
brewing in Indian hockey with the women`s team today rejecting
the incentives promised to them and demanded a treatment
similar to one offered to their male counterparts.

Hockey India decided to immediately reward Rs 50,000 to
each player in the ongoing national camp in Bhopal after the
eves resorted to a silent protest against the non-payment of
their dues by wearing black armbands during the training
session.

But national captain Mamta Kharb said they were not happy
with the "step-motherly" treatment meted out to them by the
national federation as their pending finacial dues amounts to
more than Rs three lakh per player.

"We are not satisfied with what has been promised to us,
so we will not accept the money offered by Hockey India. We
want equal to what the men`s team have been promised," Kharb
told PTI from Bhopal.

"We have written to Hockey India listing our demands and
conveyed to them that we will not accept the Rs 50,000 amount
offered to each player.

"Our pending incentives amounts to Rs 3 lakh per player
and we want that money," she added.

Kharb also said that her colleagues want a gradation
system just like the one promised to the men`s team in order
to secure the future of the women players, who come from a
relatively poor background.

"We also want a gradation system to be put in place. For
years now, there is no salary or match fee for players in
women`s hockey. We even don`t get daily allowance during
camps. So, we want all these to be put in place ortherwise in
future no parents will encourage their daughter to play
hockey," Kharb said.

The Indian skipper, however, made it clear that they
won`t resort to any pressure tactics by going on strike unlike
their male counterparts and would carry on practice under
protest.

"We won`t stop training come what may. But we are hopeful
that Hockey India will consider our justified demands and
solve our problem as soon as possible. We also don`t like to
do all these things but we were compelled to take the step
keeping in mind our future," Kharab said.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, HI interim
president Vidya Stokes earlier in the day told reporters that
the national body has decided to give away an immediate reward
of Rs 50,000 each to all the 19 national campers in Bhopal.

She also said that apart from the RS 50,000, HI has
requested the government to give each player Rs one lakh for
their silver medal winning performance in last year`s Asia Cup
in Bangkok.

"We have requested the Sports Ministry to give each
player Rs one lakh as reward for their silver medal in Asia
Cup," Stokes said.

"But as of now, we (HI) are immediately giving Rs 50,000
each all the 19 players of the camp for their outstanding
performance last year," she added.

But Kharb said the eves already owe Rs one lakh from the
government for the silver medal in Asia Cup and the amount was
not at all part of their demand.

"The government has given us Rs 1.5 lakh for winning gold
in 2007 Asia Cup in Hong Kong. And as per rule, the government
is supposed to give us Rs 1 lakh each for winning silver in
last year`s Asia Cup. So these money is our right, but we are
grateful to Hockey India for their request," she said.

Kharab also dismissed Stokes claim that she had spoken to
the captain and coach of the women`s team and they were happy
with the immediate incentive offered to them.

"She (Stokes) didn`t speak to me. But yes she spoke to
Surinder Kaur but we clearly said to her that we were not
sayisfied with the amount," she said.

Upset over the attitude of HI towards them, the womens`
team has also opened a savings account in the Bhopal branch of
Syndicate Bank and have requested hockey asked fans all over
the country to support their cause.

The present situation in Indian hockey came to light
barely a week after the crisis surrounding the men`s team was
resolved with the Indian Olympic Association president Suresh
Kalmadi brokering a peace deal between the striking players
and Hockey India.



First Published: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 19:13

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