Bengaluru: On the occasion of FIH Inclusion and Diversity Day, the members of the Indian Men and Women’s Hockey Teams expressed their thoughts on #HockeyEquals.
Emphasizing that sport has the power to unite people, seasoned campaigner and Khel Ratna awardee PR Sreejesh said, “The FIH Inclusion and Diversity Day highlights that we are #HockeyEquals. No matter your gender, ethnic background, physical or intellectual ability. No matter your sexual orientation or age, hockey is equal for all and inclusion is a norm in the sport.”
Harmanpreet Singh, the Captain of the Men’s Team said, “We are a team full of players from different cultures, religions and spiritual beliefs but the sport unifies us. Diversity is wealth and we are proud to be part of a sport that provides equal opportunity to all.”
Padma Shri awardee Vandana Katariya, who has over 250 International Caps with the Indian Women’s Hockey Team, echoed the sentiments of her male counterparts. She said, “When I began playing hockey, girls were never allowed to leave their household. As a girl, playing a sport, wearing shorts and going to practice everyday was not normal. There was a sense of discrimination but over the years, this has largely changed and it is great that FIH through Inclusion and Diversity Day is educating people across the globe about gender discrimination among other things.”
Putting her weight behind the initiative, Indian Women’s Team Captain Savita said, “This is a great initiative by FIH. Sport unites the world and brings people together on one platform without any discrimination.”
“We are very proud to be part of a sport that paves the way for the next generation to embrace this motto. We faced challenges to overcome the stereotypes in our formative days but I believe it won’t be so difficult for the future generations with Hockey India along with FIH promoting the right values,” signed off the ace goalkeeper who led the Indian team to a historic Bronze at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.