THERE will be theories galore about the devastating defeat of Pakistan by Australia in the hockey event in the Olympics. The selectors, team coach and some players of the hockey team will come under heavy criticism and perhaps be axed. This is a process so common that other equally important factors are ignored.
Has anybody considered why the subcontinent does not participate in (a) gymnastics, (b) races and (c) football? Even African countries are now producing winners in some of these events. This aspect has a direct bearing on hockey and, for that matter, events involving physical prowess, stamina and endurance. In my view, this is the answer to our and India’s decline in a game which was at one time monopolised by the subcontinent.
Once the Europeans mastered dribbling, their physical fitness and stamina became the winning factor. Pakistani players are masters of hockey but what about their stamina to match European rivals throughout the game? As pointed out above, this underlies the subcontinent’s absence from athletics and football where speed and split-second manoeuvre win the game.
Another factor is the absence of countrywide nurseries promoting future players and tournaments. Institutions like the Army, Police, Railways and, of course, colleges and schools used to pride on their performance in these fields. Throughout the year, matches and tournaments were held but there is hardly any these days.
We do not encourage promising youngsters and rely on the ‘old is gold’ factor for their ‘experience’ and ‘style’. In Holland, sport celebrities make sure to be present during coaching and matches, involving teenagers, irrespective of their colour and creed.
As far as physical fitness and stamina are concerned, these are directly related to our living conditions and the quality of food.
The less said the better. We are purposely damaging our future generations by willful negligence in this vital field.
F. H. ANSARI