The International Hockey Federation (FIH) calendar for the year 2013 indicates that the 10th men and 7th women Junior World Cups have been allotted to India. But the two factions that govern hockey in the country differ on the issue.
A top official of the Indian Hokey Federation said the FIH is compelling India to conduct events because of the monetary benefits. "India has become a lucrative market for the FIH. It's irrelevant to conduct a tournament for which we are not prepared. Host nations generally start preparing from the time of the allotment of the competition. But we are clueless of about the team formation," said IHF secretary general Ashok Mathur
However, Anupam Gulati, a top official of Hockey India (HI) wasn't sure of the bidding process or why India was allotted the event in the first place. "It has been allotted to India some time ago," was all he said.
On the face of it, the Junior World Cup may be far away. But it raises concern about the future development plans in the country. Gulati admitted the preparation is yet to commence. "It's in the pipeline. We have to conduct junior nationals and select players," he said. The junior nationals are likely to be held in Ranchi in July.
Considering continental powers including South Korea have already started their 2013 campaign in an earnest way, the fate of a nation that is yet to constitute a team can well be imagined. Even a small nation like Malaysia is miles ahead. Its project 2013, is two years old.Since there's no development plan in the country, India has already expressed inability to send teams for the Asia Cup, in both men's and women's. The 3rd women Junior Asia Cup was held in Bangkok from June 4 to 12, while the 3rd men Junior Asia Cup will be held in Hong Kong from July 23 to 31.
The feud between the two factions, says Col (Retd) Balbir Singh, a member of the HI selection committee, is mainly responsible for hampering youth development in the country. "We are not learning any lesson from the past," he said, pointing to India's dismal performance in the 2009 World Cup.
There's also been a steady decline in the performance of the junior team at World Cups. India finished a poor ninth in 2009, and fourth in 2005. India had won silver in the 1997 edition followed by gold in 2001.
After a disappointing performance in 2009, India's junior development plans are yet to kick-start.
Even HI chairman of the development programme Pargat Singh is uncertain of when it will materialise. "Plans have been given to the government. When it would be implemented, I have no idea," he said.