THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It may sound incredible, but is a hard fact. Hockey is not a recognised sport in the home state of P R Sreejesh, captain of Indian hockey team. Nor are Olympic events like golf and rugby. As India is busy assessing its failure at the Rio Olympics yet again, emerges this case of mismanagement and politicking.
Without the Kerala State Sports Council’s (KSSC)recognition, these sports miss out on initiatives and financial assistance from the state government to develop the games. The impact on trainees is more profound as they are denied benefits like grace marks, quota admissions.
While sports like hockey remain unrecognised, there are dubious inclusions like atiya patiya, tennikoit, arm wrestling, roller skating, bodybuilding, kalarippayattu and even tug of war in the 39-event list Despite being recognised as the official body by Hockey India in 2014 and fielding a state team at the 35th National Games 2015 and national championships ever since, Kerala Hockey, earlier this year, were denied recognition by the Council citing legal tangles.
Hockey is not a recognised sport in the home state of P R Sreejesh, captain of the Indian hockey team. “Three-four associations lay claim to hockey in Kerala. This has been the bane of the sport in the state. Let them solve their differences first because it is the players who suffer,” Sreejesh told The Sunday Standard. “The Council should sit with Hockey India and form a new state body to govern the sport in Kerala,” the goalkeeper said.
“We have spent around `13 lakh to send state teams for national championships without government aid,” said Afsar S Ahammed, secretary of Kerala Hockey. “Some associations have been affiliated by the Council thanks to backdoor entries, while deserving association like ours are often ignored.”
T P Dasan, the president of Kerala Sports Council agrees. “During the tenure of the previous administration, there were some undeserving associations who were selected and we had expressed our displeasure when sports like arm wrestling were recognised without any merit,” he said. Kerala women’s rugby team had won bronze at the National Games.
“Though the acceptance of rugby has increased, we are yet to be recognised despite continuous efforts. I hope the new administration will look into this,” said coach Mahesh Kumar, also secretary of Kerala State Rugby Association.
The rugby body was founded in 2002, but Dasan said its application was being processed. “They had only completed the paperwork recently and it is on our table now. We will definitely consider it,” he said.
Golf is still in a nascent stage in Kerala despite making its debut in Olympic stage at Rio. “We haven’t received an application for golf.” said Dasan.