Cam Collier arrived in the Capital late on Saturday night with his wife, Sarah, after a tiring 18-hour journey from Auckland. Less than 10 hours later, he wished he had stayed back and watched his son, Ben, play on television.
The parents of the New Zealand midfielder, along with four other families who are here in India to watch their children play in the FIH Hockey World Cup, are distressed at the way things are panning out for them.
“We made our bookings in advance to ensure there were no last-minute glitches, but after arriving in New Delhi, we are not sure whether we will be able to see our children play,” said Collier.
“Someone told us to go to the New Delhi Railway Station to buy tickets…when we reached there, we were told to go to Pragati Maidan. It’s so distressing,” said Collier, who is on his second visit to the country.
Malcolm Inglis, who checked into one of the star hotels on Thursday night, has been doing the rounds of the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium but has managed Rs 100 tickets for a couple of matches on Sunday.
“My wife, Carolie, and I have been going around to buy tickets. Everywhere we go it seems they want to get rid of us. Finally, today, at the hotel reception, we were informed that tickets were being sold at a coffee shop and we bought a couple of them for Rs 100 each,” said Inglis, whose son Hugo is the mainstay of the Kiwi team.
Peter Punchia, father of Arun Punchia (a player of Indian origin), says he wants to get into the stadium but he doesn’t know how to go about it. “I cannot afford tickets worth Rs 6,000. At least the FIH (international hockey federation) should have reserved some passes for us…The FIH has not been co-operative.
“When we reached India, the FIH official co-ordinating the accreditation, Elaine Norman, said we would have to purchase tickets worth Rs 6,000 for each match. This is ridiculous.” Punchia said.
“The plight of the Australians is worse. They paid for the tickets back home but came to know on arrival that their accreditations had not been done. At least, New Zealand Hockey (NZH) ensured that we reached India safely, but here nothing seems to be going right,” said Inglis.
With the rivalry between India and Pakistan being legendary, they all wanted to be”part of the action”. But the television was their only source of entertainment on Sunday.
Certainly, bad publicity for FIH in general and New Delhi in particular!