Lt Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurates international standard synthetic hockey Astro Turf at Poonch
POONCH TODAY NEWS
POONCH: Manoj Sinha, the Lt Governor of J&K UT, the other day, inaugurated the most prominent synthetic hockey Astro Turf project here in the premises of Martyr Dy.SP Manjeet Singh Government Boys Higher Secondary School, putting Poonch on the national hockey map. Modern Astroturf facilities in Poonch will help develop the next generation of hockey players so they can compete at the UT and national levels. An exhibition match was played between Baba Banda Singh Bahadur hockey club and Sham Lal hockey club after the inauguration ceremony.
It is crucial to emphasise here that Poonch hockey remained a dominant force for decades, but owing to a lack of suitable infrastructure, Poonch hockey players struggled to find positions in national teams. The construction work of this project was inaugurated by former LG G.C Murmu in July 2020, but the project got delayed due to the emergence of COVID-19. After the hectic efforts of the J&K UT government and district administration, the playing area has been completed and it was formally inaugurated by LG Manoj Singh, thereby bringing joy to the faces of hockey lovers. It is pertinent to mention here that in raising the standard of Poonch hockey, various personalities played their big roles, starting from former DYSSO S Netar Singh, Ved Charlie, Prem Parkash Luthra(Retd DYSSO), Dr Jeevan Kapoor, S Narjeet Singh, S Rajinder Singh(Retd DYSSO), S Mohinder Singh, Late Sham Lal Sharma(SAI Hockey Coach who gave coaching to several players for years), S Manjeet Singh(Retd Librarian, who organised many tournament for nearly 20 years),S Daljeet Singh(Retd PEM), S Gurdev Singh and scores of other big people. In fact Poonch hockey has nearly 85 years of history, because the hockey team of Poonch once visited Lahore to play matches in 1930’s. Now, with four to five young NIS coaches to train the present generation of hockey players, hockey Poonch is all set to excel at UT and national level with the availability of this latest world-class synthetic astro turf. While expressing his views with “POONCH TODAY”, Matinder Pal Singh, a NIS hockey coach and head of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur hockey club, said, “We are thankful to LG Manoj Sinha ji, Subash Chibber, Director Youth Services and Sports; Ms Nuzrat Gull, Secretary Sports council; Dr Salim-Ur-Rehman, former Director Youth services and sports, Rahul Yaday(IAS), former DC Poonch; Inder Jeet, presently DC Poonch and Mohd Qasim, DYSSO Poonch for this gift to Poonch hockey and I am sure that the day is not far away when we people shall produce top players with the ability to play at UT, national and international level. I am also thankful to Hockey J&K, especially Rajiv Sharma, President Hockey J&K; Rajinder Singh Kuku, Sr Vice President; and Dr Taran Singh, Gen Secretary Hockey J&K, for their continued support and guidance.” Many prominent sports people of Poonch have appreciated the efforts of Matinder Pal Singh, who, despite facing all odds, stood strongly and played a remarkable role in this project. Jasvinder Singh, a senior hockey player said, “The contribution of Matinder Pal Singh in this project is unparalleled. He and his team members devoted themselves to this project for more than two years and were seen working like labourers. Many people tried to harass him through various means, but Matinder Pal Singh despite attending an ailing father, who unfortunately left this world later, played his remarkable role for this project in addition to strengthening Poonch hockey for the future” added “Poonch got this project for the first time, but unfortunately, a few self-styled civil society members, and others played every move to stall this project, but Matinder Pal Singh faced all of them single-handedly and ultimately, tasted success in fulfilling a long overdue dream of Astro Turf for Poonch hockey.” Locals of Poonch have also appealed LGs administration to announce similar projects as Poonch district has huge potential and talent in different games like Athletics, Volleyball, Cricket, Handball, Football, Boxing, Table tennis and a few other games.