2 June :The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, today gave a clarion call for the revival of Indian Hockey. He was speaking on the occasion presentation of the book “Golden Yardstick: In Quest of Hockey Excellence” written by former Hockey Captain and Olympian, Shri Balbir Singh in New Delhi today.
Recalling the golden era of Indian Hockey, Dr. Singh said that it had produced inspiring players, inspiring coaches and inspiring captains and had seen better days. The spirit of adventure, which is associated with legendary figures like Sardar Balbir Singh has to be recaptured, he added.
He recalled that in his school days, he was inspired by Hockey. He added that to the ordinary people of our country games like Hockey and Football have far greater significance than Cricket.
He said that our sportsman of international stature are our best ambassadors in an era of globalisation. They are the people who are the role models of our younger generations. The Prime Minister urged the Sports Minister, Shri Gill to do all he can on behalf of the Government to write another glorious chapter in the history of Indian Hockey and recognize the importance of Hockey as our National game.
Following is the text of the speech of Dr. Singh on the occasion:“It is a rare opportunity to meet the real legend Shri Balbir Singh. These are the days of Globalisation. People talk about the achievements of our businessmen. People talk about globalisation but who is more qualified to talk about globalisation than our sportsman – sportsman of the caliber of Sardar Balbir Singh. Soon after India became independent, in 1948 he led our team as a captain, brought a gold medal. Again in1956, and again the World Cup in 1975. These are people who are the role models for our younger generation.
Indian hockey has seen better days. It has produced inspiring players, inspiring coaches, inspiring captains. We have to recapture that spirit of adventure, which will associate with legendary figures like Sardar Balbir Singh. I sincerely hope that Gill Saheb, our Sports Minister will recognize the importance of hockey as a National Game. I want to say that I am not a great fan of cricket. But it is not a great disrespect to the world of cricket. In my school, there was hockey and I do believe that to the ordinary people of our country games like hockey and football have far greater significance than the world of cricket.
I sincerely hope and on an occasion like this, would urge Gill Saheb to do all he can on behalf of Government to rewrite the history of hockey in the country, to write another glorious chapter this country is certainly entitled to. To have a first class hockey team, a team that should have the ambition to achieve the heights that were once achieved by Balbir and his fellow players. With these words, I express my joy for being in your company. ”