Hockey players consider hunger strike over Twenty20 cash
NEW DELHI: India’s field hockey team is so upset at their victory being ignored while the country’s cricketers returned home to a joyous welcome Wednesday that some members will go on a hunger strike, media reports said Wednesday.
Team coach Joaquim Carvalho told reporters that his team was angry at being “treated like orphans” and four players and two team officials would go on a hunger strike to protest, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
Earlier this month the hockey team won the men’s field hockey Asia Cup title by outplaying South Korea 7-2. It was the biggest victory in an Asia Cup final and the Indian team finished with an all-win record in the tournament.
While their win made front page news, it didn’t generate the kind of public adulation and cash awards from the federal and state government’s as the cricket team did for Monday’s win over rival Pakistan in the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.
The team will receive cash rewards of nearly $2 million, said Rajiv Shukla, vice president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Various state governments have also announced cash awards for the cricketers. The cricket-mad country has been celebrating the win since Monday, with the skies around the country lit up by fireworks. India last won the 50-over Cricket World Cup in 1983.
“Every sportsperson needs to be recognised,” Carvalho said in the southern city of Chennai, PTI reported. Ramesh Parameswaran, a junior coach of the field hockey, manager RK Shetty and players Vikram Kanth, VR Rahunath, SV Sunil and Ignace Tirkey will go on hunger strike outside the home of the chief minister of the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
The state has announced an award of 500,000 rupees $12,500 for each local boy and batsman Robin Uthappa. The news report did not say how long the group would strike for.