Hockey players get peanuts: Gagan Ajit
The hockey star justifies coach Carvalho saying 'step motherly' treated is being meted out to the team.Updated: Sep 26, 2007, 22:12 IST
Hockey star Gagan Ajit Singh on Wednesday lamented there was "grave injustice and discrimination" done with hockey players, who were "ignored by all" despite bringing laurels to the nation.
"Our team won the Asia Cup by defeating a formidable rival in a convincing manner. This was no small achievement and despite our team's efforts what did they get in return, just peanuts," Gagan told PTI in Chandigarh.
He said he was not against cash rewards and accolades being showered on Indian cricketers who won the Twenty20 World Cup, "but why hasn't anybody recognised our feat".
"We are not bothered about what they (cricketers) are getting, but definitely our concern is that we are being denied our due," Gagan, who is currently not in the national side, said.
He justified national coach Joaquim Carvalho saying that "step motherly" treated was being meted out to hockey players.
"Be it the Indian Hockey Federation, the Government or even the state associations, what we got is peanuts when you compare it with cricketers," Gagan said.
He said he felt sad for the hockey players who put in a lot of hard work and attend the gruelling sessions in long preparatory camps.
"What are their efforts worth. Did IHF hold a mega function the way a function was organised to welcome the cricketers. Would our players not feel good if top brass of the Federation had gone to receive them at the airport when they returned after winning the Asia Cup," he asked. Gagan said though monetary benefits were not everything, but they did matter.
"When we won the junior world cup, what we got was just about Rs 6-7 lakh. I am not saying money is everything, but at the end of the day, it matters. After all, every player is giving his sweat and blood to earn a name for himself, his country and to make his life better," he said.
Asked if he justified some hockey players deciding to go on hunger strike, he said, "let views of all the players on this issue be taken. I think at the moment, many of our national players are playing in the League in Germany".