Despite chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s avowed interest in promoting hockey in MP, the new crop of women hockey players have failed to get any positive response from the state government despite their consistent splendid performance both at the national and international level including the recent junior world cup in Germany.
The Madhya Pradesh junior women’s squad ended the domination of Haryana and Jharkhand in the Indian team with their consistent performance in the national games, which earned the state five gold medals (twice in junior and three times in sub-junior championship) in four years.
Consequently, the national team which went to Germany to participate in the junior world cup had as many as seven players from MP.
Captain of the team Sushila Chanu also belongs to MP. The team won the bronze medal.
Haryana government lost no time in announcing a cash reward of R5 lakh for each of the players in the team from Haryana but players from MP are yet to get any such incentive.
In fact, despite their best efforts to keep MP on top in hockey, these girls received an incentive of R15,000 that too only once in the year 2012 for their performance in national championship -2011.
The winning team player Lily Chanu ( 18) of Madhya Pradesh State Hockey Academy (MPSHA) said, “As a player we are supposed to deliver results and we are trying to make the state proud. I never think of prize money and incentives. If the government feels that we have done a good job, it will definitely announce something for us. It might take time but hopefully, it will happen. I am happy with my performance. I am concentrating on my game because it’s just the start of my career.”
MPSHA coach Parmajeet Singh, “Undoubtedly MP government is putting in effort in grooming champions but it’s also true that Haryana is far ahead of us in giving incentives to players.”
A junior woman player, on condition of anonymity, said, “We became national champions five times and were runner- up four times but barring once, we didn’t get any prize money. On the other hand, when the Haryana team became national champion in 2013, each player of the team received R2 lakh. Our aim is to concentrate on the game alone, so we never say anything about it.”
“We never get money for international tours and there is no assurance of jobs for us in future. Some of our senior players are compelled to do jobs in railways and other states,” she added.
Former Indian women team skipper Sunita Chandra said, “The players have done a great job. They should be felicitated by the government. If they do not get incentives, it will definitely act as a demotivating factor for those kids.”
Supporting the words of Sunita Chandra, Jalaluddin Rizvi said incentives or prize money is necessary to motivate the girls. “The girls should be felicitated in a big function so that upcoming players come forward to join hockey and perform like these players.”