Olympian Ashok Kumar had raised his voice against Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) president KPS Gill after the cash-for-selection scandal in 2008 and general mismanagement, which resulted in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) suspending the IHF and installing Hockey India in its place. But despite a bitter experience, he is back in the IHF fold.
On Thursday he spoke to HT on the sidelines of the 63rd Senior National Men’s Hockey Championship.
On why he leave the ad hoc body despite being a selector?
I had joined Hockey India as I thought it would improve things. But it turned out to be worse than IHF. HI officials just want to enjoy power and prevent real hockey lovers from working for the game.
On FIH’s role in Indian Hockey?
I don’t think there was any need for a unified body. FIH is not clear in using its rules - if there has to be a democratically elected unified body, then why is FIH not insisting for such a body in Pakistan? FIH people know that India is the biggest hub for sponsorship, and they mint money here. That’s the reason why it granted World Cup to India despite knowing the problems in Indian hockey.
On having a bad experience with IHF and KPS Gill and coming back with them?
I accept that both IHF and Gill were responsible for the declining of Indian hockey. I had high hopes from him, but he didn’t live up to the expectations.
However, now I feel Gill has changed especially after the revival of IHF through a court order.
On suggestions to Gill for improving the functioning of IHF?
He needs to take some tough decisions. He should listen to the right people. My first suggestion to him would be that IHF should ensure there is adequate infrastructure like astro turfs in pockets where hockey is popular and can grow.