There is no need to beg for Bharat Ratna for hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand and we are only belittling his achievements by making such demands, former India hockey coach A K Bansal said today. Iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar had become country’s first sports person to receive Bharat Ratna in 2014 while many believed Dhyan Chand deserved to be the first recipient of the highest civilian honour. Recently, the Sports Ministry had written to the Prime Minister’s office, requesting that Bharat Ratna be bestowed upon the highly revered hockey legend. “Why are we begging for award for Dadda (Dhyan Chand). He should have been the first to get it. Whether he gets it or not, the cult of Dhyan Chand will remain forever,” Bansal said while speaking during a panel discussion on significance of National Sports Day.
The discussion, in which former Dronacharya and Arjuna awardees participated, was organised by Delhi Sports Journalist Association (DSJA) and Physical Education Foundation of India. “We are belittling what he has done for the sport by again and again asking for this honour for him but I think, the chorus will continue until he gets it,” Bansal, a recipient of Dronacharya in 2010, said. Bansal rued that level of hockey has gone down when compared to India’s golden past but appreciated the progress made by other sports in the country.
Olympian and firebrand boxer Akhil Kumar said efforts should be made to develop a sports culture and the responsibility lies with the parents and teachers.”What National Sports Day means? It means that people should be aware about fitness. It was always about physical fitness and gradually it became competitive,” Kumar, a recipient of Arjuna awardee in 2005, said. “The coaches and physical education teachers have to be trained. Along with the athletes, the coaches also should be assessed and non-performing coaches should be removed.” Akhil, who is a national observer for boxing along with Mary Kom, said he does not believe in the concept of employing sports psychologists. “I don’t trust the psychologists. I would trust myself. When you enter the ring all the psychology remains outside the ring. The one who can’t trust his own abilities what will he do?,” he said in his inimitable style.
Judo coach Yashpal Singh said sports persons who have achieved something at the highest level must give back to sport. He also urged the government to allow sports persons, working in many government departments, to spend more time in working at grassroots level. Seniors Sports journalists also spoke on the occasion and stressed that coverage of local sports was much required. They rued that much importance was given to European football by media houses these days instead of local sports.