Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: Jalandhar city of Punjab has contributed a lot to Indian hockey.

As men and women hockey squads created history with their sterling performances at the Tokyo Olympics, two Jalandhar-based firms were key to their success as the players wielded hockey sticks manufactured by these.

Rakshak Sports at Wariana Industrial Complex in Jalandhar has supplied custom-made hockey sticks to six players — four in women’s hockey team and two in the men’s team.

These players demanded a choice of mould and gave their own weight requirement for the hockey sticks, said Sanjay Kohli, the owner of Rakshak Sports while talking to The New Indian Express.

“Captain of the Indian women’s hockey team Rani Rampal, who has been using our hockey for over 10 years, asked us to engrave a map of India on her hockey stick. While Niki Pradhan wanted a green stick, Sharmila Rani’s choice was black and yellow. Simranjeet Singh also preferred a black and yellow stick,” Kohli said.

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“The weight requirement varies from player to player — it’s between 535 gram, 540 gram, and 550 gram. Also, the length requirement depends upon the players’ style of playing. As all of them give their best, their sticks were custom-designed for them.”

Jalandhar-based Pooja Enterprises, which manufactures Alfa hockey sticks, sold hockey sticks to eight players of the men’s team and a similar number from the women’s team.

“Savita, Sushila, Nisha Warsi, Deep Grace, Vandana, Udita, Rajni, and Salima played with our hockey sticks. From the men’s team, captain Manpreet Singh, Shamsher Singh, Nilakanta, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Amit Rohidas, Surinder Kumar, and Sreejesh are carrying our sticks,” Nitin, owner of Pooja Enterprises said.

“All these composite sticks used by these players were manufactured by our firm as per specification from the players. Each of these ultra-light sticks costs around Rs 15,000,” he says.

A composite hockey stick used by any player takes a fortnight to get ready and costs around Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000. “Each player took three to four sticks,” they added. While a normal hockey stick costs between Rs 900 to Rs 15,000,” they further said.

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Post the Olympic bronze medal, the craze for hockey has increased manifold. The two firms are now seeing at least a 30% boom in the sale of hockey sticks. 

Amid the Covid gloom, the hockey industry now sees a ray of hope after the teams’ performance in Tokyo Olympics. Both Kohli and Jain said people are now talking about hockey and want their children to play hockey. “Once the pandemic gets over, we hope the sale of hockey sticks will go up by at least 30%. We are getting queries on hockey sticks and want the government to support us,” they add.