Somaya happy to see India excelling in disciplines other than cricket

A member of the India hockey team that won gold at the 1980 Moscow Games, M. M. Somaya feels budding players have a lot more opportunities now.

M. M. Somaya (first from left) at the Sportstar Aces Awards jury meet in Mumbai.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

In the next two-three years, Indian hockey will definitely improve a lot, says M. M. Somaya, appreciating the sea change the game has seen in the country in the last few years.

A member of the Indian hockey team that won gold at the 1980 Moscow Games, he is happy to see more and more youngsters coming forward to take up hockey seriously, and India’s young players impressed him with their determination at the hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.

“These days, the opportunities are more in the country. A structure has been formed in most of the sporting disciplines where young talent is encouraged. They should grab this with both hands. They should focus on sports,” said Somaya, a member of the jury of the Sportstar Aces awards, along with Sunil Gavaskar, who heads the panel, Hindu Group chairman N. Ram and Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Anju Bobby George.

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“In the last couple of years, India has excelled in various disciplines and not just cricket. One saw the last Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, and how we have excelled in many disciplines. So, the choice was good and the committee had a broad outlook,” he said.

Somaya said the administration of hockey has improved considerably over the last 5-10 years and “it augurs well that an Indian is at the helm of FIH (Narinder Batra). We had two World Cups and other international tournaments in India. We also had the Hockey India League (HIL), though it hasn’t been as successful as other sports. I am certain they will restart in a different format. With all this, hockey is going to look up.”