Zeenews Sports Bureau
New Delhi: In an eye opening snub to the apathy of the government towards the national sport, the Indian hockey team on Wednesday refused to accept the meagre cash reward offered to them by the Sports minister after winning the Asian Champions Trophy.
The winning hockey national team was offered Rs 25,000 per player by the Sports Minister Ajay Maken during their felicitation ceremony and they duly refused to take such a small amount that would not even fetch them a decent playing kit, let alone support their families.
Hockey team captain Rajpal Singh told Zeenews that their feat of beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the finals of the prestigious event was not rewarded well and added that his team was disappointed by the hollow claims of the Sports Minister to revive the national sport in the country.
“The Sports Minster did not come true to our expectations, the money should be better not just for the motivation of the current crop of players but for the future generations who’d like to take up the national sport,” Rajpal said.
Rajpal also said that the Sports federation can take a leaf out of BCCI’s working and awarding of the players to motivate them for better results.
"We were offered Rs 25,000 each by HI Secretary General Narinder Batra as reward for winning the Asian Champions Trophy but we all refused to take it because it a very small reward considering our achievement," senior player Gurbaz Singh told reporters.
Gurbaz said it was not possible to draw youngsters to the game with such rewards.
"We did not expect such a small amount as reward, considering the fact that hockey is our national game. If such things continue, there will be a day when there will be very few kids interested in playing hockey. They would rather opt for cricket or any other individual sport," he added.
Another member of the victorious team said that such a meagre reward did not come as a surprise to him.
"These things are not new in Indian hockey. Now we are used to such step-motherly behaviour. This doesn't make any difference," the player said on condition of anonymity.
India had beaten Pakistan 4-2 in the Asian Champions Trophy finals on Sunday in Ordos, China.