Imagine Hockey star Sardar Singh a Drug Addict?


Being eloquent about a national issue of concern and expressing a very turse point while speaking over the high number of drug addicts in Punjab, the captain of India’s hockey team, Sardar Singh, has said that if not for the game, he could have been “one of them”.

Speaking at Idea Exchange, Sardar said he has heard stories of young players at local hockey academies being drawn to drugs. He said sports should be used as a tool to provide direction to the youth.

“Agar hockey na khelte toh hum bhi unme se hote (If not for hockey, I could have been one of them). I believe sport can be used as a tool to control it,” said Sardar, who is a DSP with Haryana Police. “If kids go to the ground and focus on training, they won’t have time to indulge in anything else. So if we introduce more sports, we can save our youth from these things.”

The complete talk can be accessed below:

Sardar said the impact of drugs was visible across Punjab. “It’s been quite a while since I have travelled across the state. But Punjab had acquired a name… For instance, the physique of any normal person used to be so great. Dekhne mein maza aata tha (You felt good just looking at that). But now, these things have become less so,” the 29-year-old said.

When asked if there was any link between the rise in the use of drugs and hockey’s decline in Punjab, Sardar said he “believed so”. Sansarpur and Shahbad were among hockey hotbeds in Punjab and Haryana but the talent pool emerging from these nurseries has reduced considerably, he said.

“Some time ago, I had heard that at some academies in Punjab, a few kids were involved in drugs. Small children at local academies… I haven’t seen it myself, but I heard about it two-three years ago; especially in villages. It’s a very wrong thing. People talk about government but even they should understand. But yes, this could also be a reason (for hockey’s decline),” he said.

“But if we improve facilities in these regions, promote sports and with a little more help from the government — they’re already doing well — the situation can be improved,” he said.

Sardar, who will lead the team at the Olympics in August, said he wasn’t knowledgeable enough to comment on censor board’s decision to demand a number of cuts in the movie ‘Udta Punjab’, which deals with the drugs menace.

CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani has reportedly asked the filmmakers to remove ‘Punjab’ from the title along with all the references made to the state. Sardar, however, felt otherwise.

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“I can talk about sports and hockey. The censor board knows more than us. They know what to show. Even the way the director has made the movie… I think they are more knowledgeable about this field than me,” he said. “But as you said, if they’re showing reality, then it should be shown. What’s wrong in that? If our youngsters, our youth can learn something from the movie then what’s better than that.”

Sardar added that he and his teammates can do their bit to spread awareness by travelling to regions affected by drugs. “We really do not have much spare time. We are in camps most of the time but if there’s anything we can do, we will be happy. We can visit these places and spread awareness,” he said.