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End of Era: Bhopal hockey team can't play at national level, just one team from MP now

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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

BHOPAL: In what comes as a big shock to hockey enthusiasts, the status of Bhopal as a state-level entity has ended, and it will no longer have a separate team.

Bhopal was the founder member of the Indian Hockey Federation, and produced umpteen hockey stars who represented India in Olympics, World Cup and other international tournaments, and brought glory to the country.

However, after 92 years, Hockey India decided to end the status on the basis of 'one state-one unit' rule. Now, players of Bhopal who earlier had a separate team and the local talent was able to play at the national level, will have to first appear for trial and find a place in the Madhya Pradesh team. 

Veteran hockey players and sports lovers have expressed shock at the manner in which the decision was taken, despite the glorious history of Bhopal hockey and the contribution of hockey players from the region. Now, Bhopal and Gwalior have lost recogntion, and Mahakoshal Association Madhya Pradesh is the sole representative of hockey from the state.

Under the new policy, there are 28 associations which have been given status of prmanent units, along with 29 associated members. The 35 hockey academies have also been given affiliation. Though the decision was taken sometime ago, after the missive and the subsequent developments, the reality has now sunk in.

Hockey legends from Bhopal have expressed shock and have condemned the decision. Olympian and former hockey legend Syed Jalaluddin has said that this is clear discrimination and they have objected to it, however, if there is no redressal then they will approach the court.

Former Olympian, Alsam Sher Khan, has said that there has been attempts to belittle the contribution of Bhopal hockey ahd sideline it for long. "It ultimately hurts Indian hockey", he further said. Similar reactions have come up from other senior players and hockey lovers. 

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.