There is no dearth of talented sportsmen in Punjab, but the state needs to develop infrastructure and provide economic security to its players, say coaches and sportspersons as HT spoke to them ahead of National Sports Day, celebrated on birth anniversary of legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand today.
Manmeet Singh (41), a veteran table tennis player from the city, who recently won bronze medal at South Asian veteran table tennis tournament, held in Nepal, said in Ludhiana there is no coach provided by Punjab government, neither recognised TT under their sports promotion scheme.
“We get some help from Sports Authority of India but not Punjab government”, he said. Singh added, “The hall for table tennis at Guru Nanak Stadium is not sufficient. To organise any tournament we have to use badminton hall to conduct matches.”
Teja Singh Dhaliwal, secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, said there is no doubt that Punjabis have talent but there is need to identify them and provide them with professional training. Also, the players need economic security in form of jobs, which is the main problem that players are facing. “Many of our players migrate to other states as their government is promoting sports on a large scale. Players are given jobs and grants if they win a medal”, he said.
He added that Punjab even lacks in infrastructure. “We do not have the infrastructure as per the international standards. In 2001, Punjab got the opportunity to organise national championship but it failed to encash the opportunity”, he said.
Dhaliwal stated that the state that organises national championship gets the fund to develop the infrastructure as per the international standards. States like Hyderabad, Assam, Manipur are today ahead of Punjab in terms of infrastructure.
On August 22, it was highlighted by HT in areport titled ‘5-years after land approved for shooting range, work yet to begin’. The budding shooters travel to Narangwal, 25 km from city, to train as political interference is alleged to have scuttled the project.
Col JS Brar, president of district rifle association said that many budding players have left the game as MC failed to hand over possession of land identified for shooting range to the association. He said that political leaders of ruling SAD-BJP are creating obstructions as they don’t want the shooting range be set up in Sunet.