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Goalie Dipika Murthy's one to one (1/22/2010)
--s2h Team
Excerpt of an interview by Dipika Murthy, Indian girls’ team’s spokeswomen, and also a senior player in the team training in Bhopal, on the ongoing protest by the team.

Biswajit: Are you happy with the decision of Sports Minister to grant Rs. 1 crore?
Deepika: We have accepted the money, but we will continue to protest by wearing blank armbands till we get equal recognition as the men’s team. We want parity with them.

Biswajit: What’s your reaction on Hockey India’s decision to pay Rs. 50,000 to each player?
Deepika: Rs. 50,000 is much less than what we deserve. Our dues are almost Rs 3 lakhs…but they have offered just Rs. 50,000, which is an insult to us.

Biswajit: What did HI tell the team when you first rejected the money?
Deepika: Our captain Surinder Kaur talked to HI President Vidya Stokes over payment issues on Thursday, but she said that they can’t give more money as they are now concerned with forthcoming World Cup, scheduled to be held in India in February-March.

Biswajit: What are your basic demands?
Deepika: We are not satisfied with what has been promised to us, so we will not accept the money offered by Hockey India. We want equal to what the men's team have been promised. We have written to Hockey India listing our demands and conveyed to them that we will not accept the Rs 50,000 offered to each player. We also want a gradation system to be put in place. For years now, there is no salary or match fee for players in women's hockey. We don't even get daily allowance during camps. We want all these to be put in place, ortherwise no parents will encourage their daughter to play hockey in future.

Biswajit: What are the perennial problems faced by women’s hockey team?
Deepika: We don’t get enough exposure. Despite winning several tournaments, our foreign tours are cancelled. Hockey India scrapped our tours to Germany and Canada in October last year. We were supposed to tour South Africa after this ongoing training camp in Bhopal, but that was scrapped too.

Biswajit: What are the reasons that HI cite behind canceling these tours?
Deepika: They always tell us that they don’t have sufficient funds. Now-a-days, they tell us that since they have to organize the Hockey World Cup, it is not possible to support the women’s team.

Biswajit: Why did you decide to open a bank account in Bhopal?
Deepika: Since HI is not sympathetic to our needs, we have decided to open an account where people can contribute and support us during this time of turmoil.

Biswajit: Do the coach and other staff of the team support this view?
Deepika: You better ask them about their stand. I can only tell you about the views of the entire team.

Biswajit: Why did you choose to remain silent when the men’s team were protesting?
Deepika: They had different demands…their problems are also different than ours.

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