Lack of facilities, coaches at SBS Stadium mars raw talent of this border town


Players in action at SBS Stadium, Ferozepur.

Ferozepur, June 28, 2014: Marred with facilities and lack of coaches, the historical Shaheed Bhagat Singh Stadium, (earlier Nehru Stadium) is in dilapidated condition. The youngsters of this border town, which produced Hockey Stalwarts like Harmik Singh (Arjuna Awardee) Ajit Singh (Olympian),  Gagan Ajeet Singh (Former Ace Hockey Centre Forward) and Ronjan Sodhi (Ace Shooter), are in a fix over the decision of whether to choose sports as career or not.
No coaches have been appointed for Athletics, Badminton, Wrestling, Table-Tennis, Basketball, Shooting and Handball. There were coaches for Shooting and Handball few years back but both coaches were promoted as District Sports Officers.
Recently Rumikant, a formal National Player, was appointed as the Boxing Coach after a lot of scuffle. Rumikant has donated all of his belongings to the emerging boxing players as no kits were made available to the trainees.
In 2001, with the efforts of the then DIG, Hardeep Dhillon, a Hockey Academy was constructed to encourage the youth of this border area. This academy is still doing its bit under Baba Sher Shah Wali Trust, Ferozepur, While SSP, Ferozepur being its Patron. At present there are around 80 students getting free coaching in this academy having dream in their eyes that one day they will play for their country, says Manmeet Singh, The Hockey Coach.
Manmeet Singh says recently one or two players belonging to this border town, had played in the Indian Hockey League last year. He further says that there are some players who cement their base in this coaching academy and then move to some other places for better opportunities. He further says that he is confident that midst lack of all the basic amenities, ferozepur shall produce some international hockey players in the upcoming days though nostalgically he also points out that even the Astro-turf on which the players are getting training is a used one and in a dilapidated shape.
On the other hand, Palwinder Singh, DPE and a renowned Kabaddi Coach from Ferozepur, laments the state government for not providing the required facilities. “How can we produce players amidst dearth of infrastructure and basic facilities? All sports persons work day and night to produce good result but gets nothing in return as compensation. I am not amazed that India has failed to win Olympic Medals on regular basis and I feel lack of infrastructure and planning has killed sports in India.
During the Kabaddi World Cup in 2011, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab had announced the rebuilding of the stadium. Before elections, Parkash Singh Badal, CM, Punjab had inaugurated the construction of a hockey stadium in Ferozepur in February, 2014 but even after one month of elections, nothing has been done.
Besides sports activities, this sports stadium is always used for official functions on Republic Day and Independence Day.

Saturday, June 28, 2014