New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) You've seen them use the baton to ensure law and order. Now Delhi's policemen are set to wield the hockey stick to show off their dribbling skills on the field - and in soccer too. This is in addition to the volleyball, shooting and athletics teams that Delhi Police already have and is part of the effort to promote sports in the 85,000-strong force.
Like the other three teams that participate in the All India Police Competition (AIPC), the hockey and football squads will turn out from next year. Sixteen players each for the hockey and football teams are to be selected in the coming months.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar recently asked the Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) of all the 11 districts and the five armed police battalions to promote hockey and football by identifying players who are interested in the two games.
A team of wrestlers is also being readied.
According to Special Commissioner of Police S. Nithianandam, participating in the additional two sports would help promote a sporting spirit among police personnel.
"Young people are joining Delhi Police. They are talented and sports-loving. The plan is to promote the sports in the force," Nithianandam told IANS.
"It is the first time in the history of Delhi Police that hockey and football teams are being formed," said another police officer.
Special practice sessions would be held at Police Lines in north Delhi for the selected personnel, the officer added.
"The grounds at Police Lines will be used for practice. We are to modernize the grounds soon with synthetic mats. We also plan to give the personnel modern kits and other sports articles," the officer said.
Last year, a female wrestler, Jyoti, a constable with Delhi Police, won a gold medal at the AIPC. She was the only one to win a medal. Delhi Police had sent four wrestlers as well as 30 players to participate in athletics, shooting and volleyball events. The AIPC was held in Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in March.
According to a senior officer, ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, some of the Delhi Police sports teams were disbanded.
"The force had to ensure a safe and secure CWG. The formation of sports teams has again started and the move will definitely boost the morale of the force," said another officer.
The Delhi Police athletics team has 26 members, one coach and three assistant coaches. It also has 19 volleyball players and six shooters.
The force had produced a couple of Olympians in the past.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sudesh Kumar participated in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, ACP Prem Nath participated in the 1972 Munich Olympics and ACP Sandeep Bayala participated in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The first two were wrestlers and the third was a judoka. All three are Arjuna awardees.
(Alok Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)