With just two days to go for the Hockey India (HI) elections, Pargat Singh (contesting for the post of President) renewed his battle cry against Indian Olympic Association President, Suresh Kalmadi.
Calling Kalmadi the 'dirty face of sports in the country', the former India hockey captain accused him of attempting to influence the elections, which are scheduled for Wednesday (28th July). "The government has given large financial grants to HI for which there is no accountability. Now they have violated government guidelines by fielding an overage candidate. Hockey India may well be made Hockey Kalmadi," said Pargat.
He also said that Kalmadi was responsible for 'the mess that hockey is currently in.' Despite repeated attempts by HT, Kalmadi was not available for comment.
Last week, the nomination of Vidya Stokes for president, had been accepted, despite her being above the age limit of 70 set by government guidelines.
According to Pargat, this was a "clear sign that a rubber-stamp president is being enforced at the helm of the national sport.
He said he has big plans for the sport. "The game can still flourish and reclaim its past glory. Marketing hockey professionally is the need of the hour as is upgrading the umpiring and coaching systems."
"Our players cannot participate in international tournaments if government recognition is missing. How can an ad-hoc body like HI announce it does not want government support?" Pargat said, on the issue of government recognition for HI. According to a letter sent by the government observer SK Mendiratta during scrutiny of nomination papers on July 20, HI secretary general Narinder Batra had expressed reservations in following government guidelines, saying 'the body did not seek government aid and facility.'