'Hockey players deserve every bit of recognition'
Olympian Dilip Tirkey says while honouring the cricketers the state governments should not ignore the achievements of other sportspersons.Updated: Sep 29, 2007 21:13 IST
Justifying the demands of the Asia Cup hockey winning team, Olympian Dilip Tirkey, who was part of the title triumph, on Saturday said while honouring the cricketers the state governments should not ignore the achievements of other sportspersons.
Tirkey said the team had worked hard and played outstanding hockey to bring the honour and they deserved acknowledgement from people as well as associations.
"Every player played well in the Asia Cup. We played attacking hockey for which we are known. The team played like a unit. Thrashing a strong team like South Korea in the final is no mean feat. The state governments at least should recognise what we have achieved," Tirkey told reporters on the occasion of a book release function at New Delhi on Saturday.
"Performance of our cricket team in the Twenty20 cricket World Cup was very good. But at the same time we should not forget the good results produced by other sportspersons," the veteran defender said.
Welcoming the recent sops announced by various state governments and corporate houses for the Asia Cup winning side, Tirkey hoped that more such incentives would come for the players.
On the Olympic qualifiers, Indian hockey team's next big target, Tirkey said the side has to pull up its socks in several areas to excel their performance.
"The main target for us is the Olympic qualifiers. In Asia Cup, short corner conversion was a problem. We have to work hard on that. Besides, we have to improve upon a few more aspects of the game to play even better," he said.
On India losing out the Champions Trophy bid to Malaysia, Tirkey said the team lost a huge chance to prepare itself for the Olympic qualifiers early next year.
"If we had got to host the Champions Trophy, we would have got a very good chance to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers. But, it does not matter, we will work hard to do well," he said.
Tirkey admitted that Chak De India -- the recent Hindi movie on hockey -- had not only popularised hockey among people, but also inspired the players to a great deal.
"The whole country is saying Chak De. It has such a positive influence. It has spread awareness about hockey. Even it has helped the players. I myself learnt a lot from the movie. I got inspired to see the girls play like a team and how the coach handles his side," he said.
Sharing his two years' experience with Dutch club Kelin Zwiterland, Tirkey said it enriched him and helped him grow as a player.
"You play alongside the best players of the world. You learn by watching how they approach the game, their attitude and planning," he said.
First Published: Sep 29, 2007 20:56 IST