Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Hockey India wants Belgium to apologise for lack of respect

Belgium hockey’s dissatisfaction over the FIH Hockey Stars Awards was “racial discrimination”, according to Hockey India.

In a letter to FIH chief Thierry Weil, HI president Gyanendro Ningombam said that the national association and some its star players lacked respect and sportsmanship in questioning the vote.

“The public statements of displeasure at the announcement of the Indian winners is highly disrespectful and not in the spirit of sportsmanship and the sport of hockey,” Ningombam wrote.

“The objections on behalf of Belgium Federation for 2021 winners needs to be carefully examined by the FIH Governance Panel for what is considered by myself as a case of discrimination/racial discrimination.”

Ningombam added that the player’s achievements, who swept the voting in all eight categories, had been overshadowed by negativity in the aftermath.

“How humiliating, mentally traumatic and insulting it is to the Indian athletes and coaches. Hockey India cannot stand by and allow the efforts and achievements of Indian athletes and coaches to be questioned in this manner…,” he said.

“ls it fair that the hard work and efforts of these athletes are being scrutinised and they are being put through such harassment and mental intimidation?” he asked.

Ningombam asked Weil for Belgium to issue a public apology for “demeaning” comments.

“If not, refer this matter to the FIH Governance Panel for thorough investigation into what is discrimination/racial discrimination against the lndian athletes and coaches.”

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  1. The reaction of Belgium went over the top. Holland were gold medal winners too but they did not raise such a hue and cry. Holland’s women’s team is one of the greatest hockey teams of this generation. They swept to victory at Tokyo unlike Belgium who were lucky to get the gold medal.

    Of course, the award system needs changes, but that needs to be done quietly behind the scenes. The Indian win in the awards does not show the strength of Indian hockey(hockey is at best 4th or 5th in popularity in India). It shows the weakness of European hockey, where journalists don’t bother to vote and fans are too few to care.


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