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Young talent is encouraged these days: Somaya

India’s youth brigade impressed him with its determination at the hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.

In the next two to three years, Indian hockey will definitely improve a lot, said M.M. Somaya, appreciating the sea change the game has seen in the country in the last few years.

A member of the Indian hockey team that won gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, he is happy to see more and more youngsters taking up hockey seriously. India’s youth brigade impressed him with its determination at the hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar.

“These days there are more opportunities in the country. A structure has been formed in most of the sporting disciplines where young talent is encouraged. They should grab this with both hands. They should focus on sports,” said Somaya, a member of the jury of the Sportstar Aces awards, along with Sunil Gavaskar, who heads the panel, N. Ram, The Hindu Publishing Group chairman, and Olympians Anjali Bhagwat and Anju Bobby George.

Wide variety

“In the last couple of years, India has excelled in various disciplines, and not just cricket. In the last Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, the Indians excelled in many disciplines. There was a wide variety to choose from and the committee had a broad outlook,” he said.

Somaya said hockey administration has improved considerably over the past five to 10 years.

“It augurs well that an Indian (Narinder Batra) is at the helm of FIH, the World Hockey Federation. We had two World Cups and other international tournaments in India. We also had the Hockey India League, though it hasn’t been as successful as other sports. I am certain they will restart in a different format. With all this, hockey is going to look up.”

The Sportstar Aces awards ceremony will be held in Mumbai on February 14.

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