Chief Minister N Biren has announced a cash reward of Rs 25 lakh for Pukhrambam Sushila Chanu, the lone player from Manipur who was part of the Indian women’s hockey team which valiantly went down fighting for a third-placed finish against Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday. He also assured to place the former India skipper in a job befitting her at the sports department.
CM Biren dialed Sushila, who also led the Indian women’s hockey team at the Rio Olympics in 2016, to console and congratulate her a few hours after the nerve-wracking match which ended in despair for the Indian eves after their historic run at the Olympics. The last time the Indian women’s hockey team managed a fourth-placed finish was at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 in which only six teams participated. The Indian women’s team has qualified for the event only twice ever since. The last Olympics in Rio, and Tokyo.
During the candid video chat which went viral on social media, CM N Biren lauded the Indian women’s hockey team for their spectacular performance and asked Sushila Chanu to convey his wishes to the whole team.
Singling out her stellar performance for covering the distance by running all over the field, the CM, who revealed watching the match on his phone on board his flight from the national capital to the state capital , mentioned that her commitment didn’t go unnoticed by the commentators.
Encouraging the experienced Olympian who has donned the national colours nearly 200 times, N Biren urged her to not feel dejected after the loss and to list out her expectations from him and his government.
Sushila lamented that despite hockey regaining its popularity in recent times with support from the government, the number of players from the state called for national trials have dwindled due to the abysmal performance of the state hockey teams that crashed out before reaching the quarter final in tournaments at the national level. She also mentioned that only two youngsters from the state have emerged as national probables in recent times unlike in the past when there were many.
She also drew the attention of the CM towards the plight of former Olympians Chinglensana Singh and Kothajit Singh who are employed outside the state, seeking suitable jobs for the duo who represented the Indian men’s hockey team at the Rio Olympics, 2016.
The former India captain also asked the CM to support these senior players who wish to join hands for producing more talented hockey players from Manipur by bringing in their experience and expertise in the state.
During the video conferencing, the Chief Minister motivated Sushila not to lose heart, rather work hard to bring a medal in the next Olympics.
Notably, Indian women hockey team missed out on the bronze medal in the Olympics as it lost to defending champion Great Britain by 4-3 goals in a nail-biting match.
The Chief Minister said that although India lost to Great Britain, Indian hockey team gave a miraculous performance in the match. It could not be treated as a defeat for Indian team as the country reached the final-4 stage after decades. People of the country highly appreciated the performance and endeavor of the Indian women’s hockey team. Prime Minister Nendra Modi was also quite elated over winning an Olympic bronze medal by Indian men hockey team after 41 years long medal drought as well as the hard effort put in by the women team to reach the present stage in Olympics, he added.
Sushila requested the Chief Minister to take up proper initiatives to develop the hockey movement in the State. Due to lack of sports infrastructures and training facilities in the State, many hockey players of the State cannot participate in Indian team from time to time. She also expressed her willingness to provide training to young hockey players in the State if the government provides her a suitable job, not lesser than her present job in the Indian Railways.
The Chief Minister told her that Astroturf hockey playgrounds will be constructed in each of the districts of the State and superior quality hockey fields will also be laid in localities too.