Rajpal, Halappa unfazed by threat

Rajpal, Halappa unfazed by threat

Notwithstanding FIH’s persistent threat of a ban, out of favour Indian stars Rajpal Singh and Arjun Halappa on Thursday stated categorically that they will play in the lucrative World Series Hockey as it will not only provide them financial stability but also give them an opportunity to relive their passion.

With less than a week to go for the start of the event, the FIH has reiterated that WSH remains an ‘unsanctioned’ event for it and any player or official participating in the private league may face sanction.

But such a threat has failed to deter former India captain Rajpal Singh and experienced striker Arjun Halappa, who did not find a place in the 18-member Indian squad for the ongoing Olympic Qualifiers here.

“Hockey is my passion and I want to utilise every opportunity that comes my way. For any player what is important is to play the sport, it doesn’t matter in which form the opportunity comes,” Rajpal told PTI.  Asked about the possible ban he might face in the future if he turns up in WSH, he said, “Let’s not talk about what might happen in future. Who has seen future? People said that world will end in 2011 but it didn’t.”

Rajpal’s views were supported by another former skipper Arjun Halappa, who also failed to make it to the main team for the Olympic qualifiers and was named as a stand-by player. “When I started hockey there was nothing in the game. My family found it very tough. Even now there is not enough money in the game. So, when a player is benefitting by doing something which he loves most why shouldn’t he avail it?,’’ Halappa asked.

“At the end of the day, it’s a domestic tournament. Just one month. If I would have been in the (national) team, then also I would have played the league. And it’s not just me the other players will also do the same,” he said.

Halappa also said that he is not thinking about FIH’s threat at this moment and was hopeful of a peaceful resolution to the matter. “I am just a player and I won’t like to get into all these…But I am not thinking about all these now. Let’s see what happens in future,” he said. 

“There is still one week to go and I just hope everything will be sorted out,’’ Halappa added.  After the snub from the Olympic qualifiers team, Halappa has threatened to quit international hockey, but he said he is yet to make a decision in this regard.