Hockey dying in DU, colleges strike it off their sports quota

New DelhiHockey

India's national game has taken a beating as a sport in the Delhi University, with prominent colleges such as Hindu and Hansraj deciding to not hold hockey trials for admission under the sports category.

Colleges say it has become difficult to maintain a team in hockey and attribute this to the waning interest in the game.

Having played hockey briefly when he was student at Kirorimal College, Hindu College principal Pradyumn Kumar says: "In the 1970s and '80s, hockey used to be such a craze. Ajit Pal Singh was the captain of the Indian hockey team at the time. We would go to Shivaji Stadium to watch matches. In my first year, I was in the college hockey team at Kirorimal. I remember in those days, most colleges such as KMC, Khalsa, Hindu and Hansraj had hockey teams. But gradually most of these teams disappeared."

The Delhi University offers five per cent reservation for sports and extra-curricular activities (ECA) categories, but colleges say the number of sports seats are not enough to sustain a team.

Hansraj principal V K Kawatra says: "We do not get enough students for games like hockey and kho kho. Also, the sports seats are reserved subject-wise and the demand for commerce and economics is higher. Earlier, many sportspersons used to take up BA Pass course, but that is no longer the case. It becomes difficult to maintain a team in such a situation."

Kumar agrees: "There are 36 to 37 seats in sports category in our college. These are divided among subjects. All good sportspersons want sought-after courses such as economics, commerce or English. Since the seats in these subjects are limited, all of them cannot get admission in that course. The result is that some of them go to another college. This has hampered the growth of team games like hockey. This is a problem that we face in all games that require a big team."

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