Hockey going cricket’s way: Hockey India to introduce gradation system for players

Hockey is going the cricket’s way. With the deal with Sahara renewed, Hockey India has decided to introduce a gradation system, something the players have been demanding for a long time, writes the DNA. Hockey India secretary general Narendra Batra has said that the association will introduce a retainership fee for the senior and under-19 teams, a system similar to the one followed by the BCCI.

“The players will be graded according to their performance as well as seniority, much like what happens in cricket. Once the Olympic qualifiers are over, we will sit with the senior players and draw a blueprint of how to effectively implement our plan,” Batra said.

The body might not be able to match the high fees drawn by Indian cricketers. However, the ones in the top grade will earn around Rs2 lakh per season.

It seems the feat of Shiva Keshavan, who has represented the country in four Winter Olympic Games and has three Asian Championship medals, means nothing to the authorities concerned, writes Hindustan Times. Forget about national recognition, the luge champion's efforts have not even been recognised by his home state, Himachal Pradesh. He is yet to receive a single rupee from the government for his achievements.

To add insult to injury, the country's first winter games continental-level gold-medallist is running from pillar to post to submit his representation for the award. “I have no idea whether the state government shortlists athletes for the award or one has to apply for it. I have submitted my application to the director, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, and requested him to take up my case with the state sports department,” said Keshavan.

Meanwhile, Sania Mirza dug deep into her reserves to overcome a fighting Anne Keothavong 64, 7-5 to progress to the singles quarterfinals of the $220,000 Pattaya Open, here on Thursday.

According to newspaper reports, the unseeded Indian, ranked 111, tamed the giant-killing British rival in a hard-fought second round match in almost two hours. Keothavong, ranked 88, had shocked second seed and world number 16 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the opening round. Sania has also reached the doubles quarterfinals with Australian partner Anastasia Rodionova. The top-seeded pair routed a hapless French pair of Iryna Bremond and Caroline 60 6-2 in the first round.