India celebrated the 30th anniversary of its last World Cup victory with a special seminar in New Dehli attended by some of the stars of its triumph in Kuala Lumpur in 1975.
India's future in hockey is not bleak, according to the former Olympians who spoke at the seminar organised by the Federation of Indian Games. The seminar was attended, among others, by Balbir Singh Sr., Ajit Pal Singh, Ashok Kumar, Keshav Dutt, Nandy Singh, M.P. Ganesh, Harbinder Singh, Rajinder Singh and Harjinder Singh Chimni.
Balbir Singh observed that the game had become easier on the astro-turf. "The ground is even and I am surprised that there have been complaints about the turf. Even the rules have become hockey-friendly now, which is good for the game."
Harbinder Singh, who played in three successive Olympics from 1964, said that the three crucial factors Indian players needed to concentrate on were speed, stamina and agility.
The former national coach Rajinder Singh expressed disappointment at the attitude of the administrators. He wanted to know why blame should be put on a coach in defeat when no credit was given for victory.
Chimni said that the synthetic surface was the best thing to have happened to hockey while Ashok Kumar, who scored the winning goal in the World Cup triumph on March 15, 1975, remarked that it was easier to dribble on the synthetic surface. The latter appealed to the federation and the government to do their best for the sake of the game.
The executive director of the teams wing of the SAI, M.P. Ganesh, pointed out that the Union Government was doing its best to support the game.
"We have sponsored eight astro-turfs in the country apart from providing advanced coaching to 1046 talented youngsters, and are spending Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 40,000 on each player every year,” he said
The Punjab National Bank Hockey Academy official, S.S. Chopra, informed the gathering that PNB was spending Rs. 50 lakh annually on 20 selected players.
Ajit Pal Singh, captain of the World Cup winning team, said he was longing to see India achieve another World Cup triumph.