Neglected in Haryana, handballers travel to Ludhiana to fulfil dreams
At a time when Haryana has gained the reputation of being a sports capital of the nation, thanks to its wrestling stalwarts and their awe-inspiring accomplishments, handball players from the state coming all the way to Ludhiana for training is a bit surprising.Updated: Feb 28, 2017 16:30 IST
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
At a time when Haryana has gained the reputation of being a sports capital of the nation, thanks to its wrestling stalwarts and their awe-inspiring accomplishments, handball players from the state coming all the way to Ludhiana for training is a bit surprising.
A group of eight handball players, all from Ghirai village of Hisar district of Haryana were at Multipurpose Hall of Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, on Monday participating in the selection trials of Ludhiana training centre of Sports Authority of India (SAI). Reason - SAI training centres in Haryana do not include handball in their sports promotion scheme.
These players have come to Ludhiana centre with great expectations, hoping it will pave the way to their dream of representing the country in international tournaments and being a star in their chosen sports.
All these players belong to farmer families and face shortage of funds to pay for a proper diet as well as kits.
Playing handball for the last two years, 15-year-old Satinder is a national-level player and has won two silver medals while representing Haryana. Satinder claimed that there are no hostel facilities in SAI centres in Haryana.
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“We all players are trained by Kuldeep Sharma,” said 14-yearold Sonu. He said that Sharma is the elder brother of Satinder and a senior handball player from the village.
“There are two handball grounds in our government school, where Sharma trains us. All young boys of the village gather on the ground at 6 in the morning and after two hours of training, we attend our classes and again from 4pm to 7.30pm, we resume training,” Sonu added.
Sonu has also participated thrice at the national level and has won one gold medal and one silver medal.
Another 14-year-old player Parveen, who is already admitted to Ludhiana centre of SAI, said that there are around 18 players of handball in the centre, of which 11 are from Ghirai village. “For the past many years, Sharma has been teaching the youngsters of our village and he even used to spend from his pocket to get us the kits,” he said.
Parveen added that Sharma has installed a bulletin board on which he displays the articles of his players published in different newspapers.
WHY LUDHIANA TRAINING CENTRE?
The players unanimously echo that since they belong to an economically weaker section of the society, they cannot afford the proper diet. “Ludhiana training centre is our only hope, where we can get a chance to perform at international level, which is our ultimate dream,” the players said.
They added that along with professional training, they will also get proper diet and kits under the sports promotion scheme of SAI.
First Published: Feb 28, 2017 16:30 IST