Full transcript: Indian hockey is reviving, says Maken on Your Call

Speaking on NDTV's Sonia Singh on Your Call, Sports Minister Ajay Maken said that he believes Indian hockey is on the path of revival and that he is heartened by the spirit showed by the men's and the women's team in the ongoing Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi. Read the full transcript of the show.

updated: February 25, 2012 21:16 IST
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New Delhi: Speaking on NDTV's Sonia Singh on Your Call, Sports Minister Ajay Maken said that he believes Indian hockey is on the path of revival and that he is heartened by the spirit showed by the men's and the women's team in the ongoing Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi. Read the full transcript of the show.

NDTV: Good Evening and welcome to Your Call. It's the only show on Indian television where you, the viewer, can ask the question to our newsmaker of the week. Tonight a young minister who is taking on a sports establishment, but he is a minister who is used to challenges. Joining me tonight is Ajay Maken, thank you so much for coming in. Lets just look first at the highlights of your life and career.

Mr Maken, its nice to have you at a time when there is a huge focus on Indian hockey and Olympic qualifiers. Many are saying that this is actually a great period to fix what is wrong with Indian hockey. Are you going to be able to do that?

Ajay Maken: Well it's up to the warring Sports Federations to come together and the best thing is they should be able to do so when the Federation of International Hockey, the FIH's top brass is here in Delhi. So I think they should best utilise this time to sort out their differences before the FIH, and all three of them should come together with the solution. So it's ultimately they who have to decide and they will benefit out of it. The entire country definitely is looking towards a kind of formula wherein they both can come together.

NDTV: Both the men and the women's Hockey teams have played their hearts out on the field. When you look at that, when you see what's currently going on, what would you say as a Sports Minister to these players?

Ajay Maken: Well, I feel saddened, because on one hand they are putting so much of effort, and perhaps not many people know that before reaching this level, every sports person, hockey sports person is in a dilemma as to which Federation he should align with. Should he or she join the Indian Federation sponsored tournaments, or should he or she participate in the Hockey India tournament? But despite this our players have come up and they are playing so well, and it clearly indicates that if both come together the Indian hockey will just reach there, and we again will become world champions in days to come.

NDTV: And men's Hockey, we have seen some of our best players aren't even in the team.

Ajay Maken: And yes it is, and many people say it is politics, but we have to go by the coach. The coach says this is the best thing, but again whatever is happening behind the scene is something, which no one knows. But we should go by the coach, by the decision of the coach and if the coach says this is a perfect team, we should support the team.

NDTV: The story I think of players against all odd, against the system some how excelling is a common story of sports across India, not just in Hockey, and I have one young athlete, sportsman who wants to ask you this question, Vijender Singh

Vijender Singh: Sir Namaste, sabse pehle aapko jo sports bill leke arahe ho uspe badhayi ho. Aur main chahunga ki jald se jald sports bill pass ho aur jitne bhi sports person hain, unka sabka bhala ho Sir. Main poore dil se sports bill ke haq mein hun Sir, aur main isko support karta hun Sir. Lekin ek mera question Sir yeh hai ki, jo farak ek cricketers hain aur doosre sports person k beech, jo ek gap hota hai Sir, jab woh jeetke ate hain jaise ki cricket world cup jeetke aya tha, toh kayin governments thi, jinhone unko like academy ke liye zameen di thi aur like cash prize unka bohot jyada tha, humara toh kehte hain Sir beech mein bhi nahi hai, kahin bhi. To jaise humare ladke championship mein abhi bronze medal abhi leke ke aaye thay, toh unke liye, I, think, koi ghosna bhi nahi hui thi. Aur humara jo ek level hai boxing ka, I mean pura world participate karta hai, yeh nahi ke like 15-16 country khelen aur woh jeet ke aa gaye, toh itna gap kyun kiya jata hai? Cricketers ke beech mein aur sports person ke beech mein, aur jo sports bill mein baat aati hai ke jo bhi wearabouts ka hum form bharte hain, toh usmein humko har din update karna padta hai ke main kya kar raha hun, kahan jaa raha hun; naa he cricketer woh log bharte hain, toh I think yeh jo rule hain, sabhi sports person ke liye ek saath se hone chaheye Sir, aur dono ke beech mein farak nahi hona chaheye. Toh I think mera question yehi hai saaf ke dono ke beech mein itna farak kyun kiya jata hai?

NDTV: This is something many other sportsmen must be asking you all the time?

Ajay Maken: I think he is right on both the things. But as far as the Union government is concerned, as far as the Sports Ministry, of which I am the Minister, we give cash awards only for sports other than cricket. We do not spend any money, the only time we are spending money is just a small token amount for Yuvraj Singh's treatment. But other then that we, we have not spent even a single penny on cricket. Whatever money, whatever cash awards we are giving it is only for sports, other than cricket and these Olympics sports, and now we have got huge amount of money for sportspersons. If my memory serves me right, in the past three years we have given sports, all these sportspersons who have won in international tournaments, awards worth around 50 crore Rupees. So it's not that we have, we are not giving them money and, and we have almost doubled the awards money, which we use to give earlier. So 50 crore Rupees, a, already around 50 crore Rupees have already been spent on these sportspersons.

NDTV: Is it a competition for cash prizes? Is the fact that cricket is now the big brother of all sport in India, and the reality is it's run privately, and it goes out and earns its own money, and …

Ajay Maken: Yes, yes

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