Hockey: Consul general urges fans to support India’s golden girls

2009-06-04 00:00

THE Consul General of India, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, is drumming up support for the Indian women’s hockey team participating in the Spar Cup Four Nations tournament at Queensmead Hockey Stadium in Durban.

The Indian team are playing an important Test match against the world’s second-ranked team, Argentina, at 2 pm tomorrow at Queensmead, in the South Durban suburb of Umbilo.

Apart from tomorrow’s match, Shringla urged the local Indian community to come to Queensmead on Saturday, when the playoff for third and fourth place starts at 12.30 pm with the gold medal match at 3 pm.

“The IPL cricket tournament has just concluded and while it was a unique and thoroughly entertaining sporting event, many people seem to forget that India’s national sport is hockey,” Shringla said. Hockey is played throughout the country from the villages of the remote north-eastern state of Manipur, to the tribal belts of Bihar and Jharkhand and the southern plains of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Indian hockey has brought home eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals from the Olympic Games.

Shringla said last month that the Indian team regained the prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia after beating some of the top hockey-playing nations of the world.

“More than the men’s team, it has been the women’s team that in recent years has impressed critics and admirers alike …” he said.

The team members were referred to as the golden girls of hockey after winning the 2004 Hockey Asia Cup.

It was this team that inspired the 2007 hit film Chak De India, which not only brought hockey back into the popular consciousness of Indians, but also made a strong statement about the determination and will of Indian women to succeed on an equal footing as men.

“Accordingly, I appeal, in particular to the community of Indian origin, to turn out in large numbers to support their teams,” Shringla said.

Tickets at Queensmead Hockey Stadium cost R20 for adults, under-18s pay R10 and there is no charge for scholars in uniform.

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