There is no bigger honour for a sportsperson than to don national colours at an international arena. It’s the ultimate motivation for a player. Even during the British era, the national hockey team played under India colours at the Olympics.
The public sentiment attached to hockey is for a reason, as the sport has given 11 Olympic medals, including eight gold medals. Had these honours not come under the Tricolour, the inclination of the masses towards the sport wouldn't have been there.
Even in our dreams we can’t think of competing at the Olympics without the India flag. So, the May 15 meeting in Lausanne between the Indian officials and International Olympic Committee (IOC) should bring good news for our sporting fraternity, and the ban should be revoked. But the struggle lies beyond the ban too. It is time we develop an administrative setup that ensures that such a thing never occurs again.
For the betterment of sport, all federations should involve more former players, so that their expertise can be shared. According to the Sports Code, there should be an involvement of players in the administrative setup, and for the future of Indian sport, the federations should agree to this.
Time to change
Keeping in view the developments at the international arena, the time is ripe to change the administrative setup of our federations.
There are instances where officials have been holding office for decades and are not ready to let go. It is time to make way for the next generation and utilise their energy for the development of Indian sport.
When it comes to the resources to prepare and send teams abroad, the federations look towards the government. But when the government asks for accountability, the federations harp on their autonomous status. They need to understand that it is the taxpayers' money that's involved and it cannot be wasted.
The writer is an Olympic medallist and the 1975 hockey World Cup-winning captain.