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Sunday, 5 May 2002  
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Hockey - Water problem should be solved in two weeks assures - Director of Sports

by Pelham Juriansz

The Mercantile 'A' Division hockey matches which have been postponed due to the non-availability of the grounds because of lack of water at the Astro Turf is causing concern to the Mercantile Hockey Association (MHA) members. President of the MHA, Dennis de Rosayro was unhappy over the negligence on the part of the authorities responsible for the upkeep of the Astro turf because the turf had not been watered and prepared in time for the tournament. As such, it had to be postponed indefinitely.

"We are in need of more Astro turfs in Colombo, if we are to improve the standard of the game and if the Astro turf that we have at Reid Avenue is not looked after and watered properly, how can we ever hope to improve the game and bring it to the standards that we enjoyed back in the 50s and 60s when players like Vernon Prins, the Kelaarts and Chandra Schaffter, to name a few, strode the hockey fields like giants?", asked de Rosayro. Astro Turfs are necessary for the upliftment of the game as our neighbours India, Pakistan and even Malaysia have many Astro turfs. Even the Astro Turf at Matale is hardly used and it is a sorry state of affairs", added the President of MHA.

"Normally the league matches are completed by the time we have our AGM at the end of March", said de Rosayro. "But this year we have entered the month of May and there are still no signs of starting the "A" division matches, and even the other division matches had to be conducted at the Malay Padang, for which we are very grateful to the Malay Club."

Derwin Perera, Director of Sports at the Sports Ministry, when contacted by the 'Sunday Observer', said that the main reason for the Astro Turf not being available was that there was not enough pressure in the sprinklers to water the ground at the time the Mercantile Tournament started, but now that had been rectified and federation hockey matches had been conducted there a few weeks back.

"The situation should be brought back to normalcy in about two weeks time when the water system should function without defect", he assured.

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