India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has weighed in on Indian hockey’s medal drought at the Olympics by suggesting that previous governments are to blame for a lacklustre approach towards the sport.
India men’s bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Games last summer was their first for over 40 years at the quadrennial showpiece.
Speaking after inaugurating the foundation stone for the Major Dhyan Chand Sports University, Modi said: “The previous governments did not give importance to capabilities of the youth.
“It was the responsibility of the government that the mindset of society towards sports be changed. But, the opposite happened and a feeling of indifference towards most sports started increasing.
“The result was this that hockey, in which during the colonial era talented people like Major Dhyan Chand brought laurels to the country, in that we had to wait for decades to win a medal.”
Modi said that the sport’s move from grass – where India were supreme – to astroturf left India playing catch up.
“By the time we woke up, it was too late,” he told reporters. “And from training to team selection, at every level, there was nepotism, the game of caste, corruption at every step.
“There was discrimination and there was not an iota of transparency. Hockey is just an example. This was the story with every sport.
“Previous governments in the country could not prepare an excellent eco-system for evolving technology, changing demands and evolving skills.”