India-Pakistan, film stars to play hockey match

Aug 18, 2007 IANS

Chandigarh, Aug 18 (IANS) With Shah Rukh Khan starrer "Chak De India" fanning resurgence of interest in hockey, two exhibition matches have been planed next month here - one between traditional rivals India and Pakistan and the other featuring film and TV stars and former hockey players.

The match between India and Pakistan, who once were at the top of international hockey, for the AHA Glorious Hockey Cup will see international hockey stars from current teams of both countries sweat it out in the 70-minute encounter. The matches Sep 11 are being organised by Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) at the hockey stadium in Sector 42 here.

And to add glamour to the entire event, the IHF has roped in Bollywood star Suniel Shetty, a known sports enthusiast, as its brand ambassador for the game. The game between film stars and hockey veterans will also feature members of the women's team in "Chak De India".

IHF president K.P.S. Gill, who is normally in the firing line for the whimsical handling of the national team, is upbeat about the event and the revival of the game through "Chak De India".

"This film has come on an historical occasion. It coincides with 60 years of our independence. We started the PHL (Premier Hockey League) tournament that has been a success. Now we want to do new things to help hockey get its rightful place in the country," Gill said here Friday night.

Shetty, who will be leading the film stars side in its 30-minute match against hockey veterans, says all that the sport needs now is a star player who can be idolised by the youth.

"I am obsessed by sports, especially cricket and hockey. This game (hockey) has lacked infrastructure and sponsorship. These things are gradually coming now and the game can be revived," Shetty said.

The event is being sponsored by the Air Hostess Academy (AHA) and promoted by Shetty's Popcorn Entertainment.

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